Thu, Feb 09, 2012 - Page 19 News List

Scotland flyhalf Parks retires after error against England

AFP, EDINBURGH

Scotland flyhalf Dan Parks retired from international rugby with immediate effect, the Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) announced on Tuesday.

The 33-year-old played the last of his 67 Tests in Saturday’s 13-6 Six Nations opening defeat by England in Edinburgh at Murrayfield, where he was in part responsible for the visitors’ decisive try when opposing stand-off Charlie Hodgson charged down his kick.

The Australia-born Parks, now with Welsh side Cardiff Blues, made his Test debut in 2004.

In his absence, Greig Laidlaw is set to start at No. 10 when Scotland continue their Six Nations campaign away to Wales on Sunday.

Parks, a kicking flyhalf who was criticized for a poor running game at Test level, had been contemplating retirement following the rugby World Cup, where he was second choice behind the currently injured Ruaridh Jackson.

However, he stayed on for one last crack at England, who knocked Scotland out of the World Cup with a 16-12 win in Auckland.

However, Parks said now was the right time to end his Test career.

“I was thinking about it but the first game of the Six Nations was against England, the auld enemy, Jacko was injured and being able to play against England was huge for me as there was a sense of unfinished business,” he told the SRU Web site. “On reflection after the game, after talking it over with my family, girlfriend and close friends, I’ve come to the decision that now is the right time to retire from the international game.”

“There are some really talented guys coming through — Jacko, Greig and Duncan [Weir] — and although I’m sad to be finishing my international career I have some fantastic memories of playing for Scotland and what that has meant to me,” Parks added.

“I’ve no regrets at what has been an amazing career for me. I’ve got my favourite moments for Scotland — uppermost being the 2007 Rugby World Cup,” he told the Web site. “Other memorable moments have been the two wins against England at home (2006 and 2008), the win against South Africa here at Murrayfield [in November 2010], the two wins in Argentina in 2010 and one in 2008 and the Ireland game in 2010 which was a great occasion.”

Scotland head coach Andy Robinson did not select Parks in his first squad in 2009, but came to appreciate his ability to run a game, which was reflected in several notable successes upon his return.

However, with Robinson wanting to play a more expansive game — although Saturday’s defeat was the fourth Test in a row where they failed to score a try — Parks slid down the pecking order.

Parks departs the international arena having scored 266 points, including a Scotland record 17 drop-goals, and is the third Scotland player to retire after the World Cup following forward Nathan Hines and utility back Chris Paterson.

“I have really enjoyed working with Dan,” Robinson said. “He wasn’t in my first Scotland squads, but through his own determination, hard work, skill and competitive spirit he forced his way back into selection.”

“It’s never an easy decision to make, but I feel Dan has made the right decision and thank him for his contribution over the years,” Robinson added.

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