Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Dan Parks Calls It Quits. Right Now.

Dan Parks - © 2012 Scottish Rugby Blog

Scotland stand-off Dan Parks today announced his retirement from international rugby with immediate effect.

In his eight year international career, Parks won 67 caps for Scotland, scoring 266 points, including a Scottish record 17 drop-goals.

He was the pivotal figure in Scotland’s successes in 2010, winning a host of Man of the Match awards and steering the side to a historic, unprecedented Test series triumph in Argentina and memorable victories against Ireland and South Africa.

Parks (Cardiff Blues), 33, had been thinking over his decision following the Rugby World Cup, in which he was Man of the Match in the final pool game against England.

He told “I was thinking about it but the first game of the Six Nations was against England, the auld enemy, Jacko (Ruaridh Jackson) was injured and being able to play against England was huge for me as there was a sense of unfinished business.

“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 (Ruaridh Jackson), Greig (Laidlaw) 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.

“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.

“That was my first World Cup, something that as a youngster you would always aspire to play in, and it was just such a happy, exciting, positive time.  It was also where I met my girl-friend, Laetitia.

“Other memorable moments have been the two wins against England at home (2006 and 2008), the win against South Africa here at Murrayfield, the two wins in Argentina in 2010 and one in 2008 and the Ireland game in 2010 which was a great occasion.

“I’ve made some incredible friends here in Scotland and in the Scotland team and a lot of those friendships were forged in Glasgow.

“I also want to thank the loyal fans of the Scotland team.  It’s been a rocky road for me at times but at the end I’ve always given 100 per cent to play at my best and succeed for Scotland.

“This is not the end of me as a rugby player.  My international career is over but I want to keep playing club rugby.  I always enjoyed my time in Glasgow.  It’s one of great cities I’ve visited, so who knows what will happen in the future.”

Scotland head coach Andy Robinson said: “I have really enjoyed working with Dan.  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.”

Parks’ half-back partner on many occasions, Edinburgh Rugby’s Mike Blair said: “The reaction of all the guys when Parksy announced his retirement said it all – stunned silence and emotion.

“Dan is a hugely popular and respected member of the squad and his contribution to some of Scotland’s most famous victories cannot be under-estimated.

“2010 sticks in my mind the most.  Dan coming back from the wilderness to win MOTMs against Wales, Italy, Ireland, South Africa and Argentina in that year just showed how resilient and competitive he is.  His humour, talent and energy will certainly be missed around the Scotland camp.”

He has been and will remain a divisive figure in Scottish Rugby but he has pulled more than a few games out of the fire and in 2010 he practically pulled our Six Nations out of the fire single-handed. On his day he was probably the best tactical/positional kicker in the game, or at the very least the equal of Ronan O’ Gara. His Magners League/RaboPRO12 points haul is a testament to this. But truth be told, his truly great games were a little fewer and further between than the man from Munster.

One of the founding conversations that gave birth to this blog was a drunken ramble through Paris with Al discussing Park’s merits as captain. Sure his kicks went awry sometimes, he threw silly passes, but his attitude towards his team-mates and efforts to motivate them when they were stuck in the mire were admirable. One of my friends was not long introduced to the game and was a little perturbed by the Parksy ass-pat as witnessed on numerous occasions – something he hadn’t seen much in life to that point – but it was just Dan’s way of geeing up his fellow players.

Lock Alastair Kellock, a team-mate and captain of Dan with both Glasgow Warriors and Scotland, said: “International rugby has enormous highs and lows and it’s testament to the credibility of Dan’s character that he managed to bring positivity to every day he was involved.

“It’s been a huge privilege to have played with him over so many years for Glasgow and Scotland.”

His selection by his peers as player’s Player of the Tournament in 2007 is testament to his popularity amongst fellow Scotland players. We need never question his commitment to the country that he adopted, even if maybe we never fully adopted him.

The Parks-free Scotland team to play Wales in Cardiff on Sunday will be announced tomorrow.

10 Responses

  1. This is sad news indeed. I wanted to see Laidlaw start on Sunday like most other fans but it is sad to see Parksy leave under such a dark cloud. He had a lot of good games for Scotland and has received a lot of abuse in recent times but, as as been said, he never picked himself and always appeared to be one of the best motivators in the Scotland camp when the pack were going forward. We will all miss that cuvated ‘ass pat’.

    It is unfortunate that he is being blamed for Scotland’s lack lustre display at the weekend when in reality it did not come down to one man. People also forget about the numerous games he has won for Scotland or at least kept us involved in.

    I met him a few times and was always a good guy. We will miss you Parksy!

  2. From a Scotland perspective I think this is a very good decision from Parksy as it takes the decision out of Andy Robinson’s hands and forces him to give both Laidlaw and Weir game time. However, it is a real shame that he goes out on the back of a defeat and the torrents of abuse that he has taken following Saturday’s performance. He has been made a scapegoat of sorts for the defeat at the weekend when it should be Robinson taking the flak for selecting the gameplan he did. I hope that this does not take some of the heat off of Robinson as his record as the Scotland coach speaks for itself. Parks has played in some trully awful Scotland teams over the years and had he played in a few better teams I think he would have been given a lot more credit than he has. His style draws a lot of criticism but he has been one of the main reasons that Robinson has the wins to his name that he does. He has been a great servant to Scottish rugby and is a very popular character amongst the players. I for one will miss seeing those ass slaps but hope that Laidlaw/Weir manages to fill his boots on Sunday

  3. Dan Parks has done the sensible thing today. No one wants to see a top class player being
    castigated for one bad mistake at the end of a distingushed career. He is only human like us all and he will be remembered for being the quality player that he was . He still has Club rugby to play for but i’m sure if he turns to coaching he will have a lot more to offer the game with his tactical genius and guidance for young players. Well done Dan !!
    Lets hope Greig Laidlaw and Co with the wealth of talent coming right through the Scottish Ranks can start to do a bit damage against future opposition in this Six Nations . I now appears that the untouchable Mr Robinson is now under pressure to start delivering results with the excellent resources available to him. That Scotland A result will merit a few deserved promotions to Full Squad. Lets use all the quality talent the we have available for a change. Scotland the Brave !

  4. I’m really sad that Parks has gone, he has made mistakes but when he was playing at his best he was brilliant. I remember watching the Wales game in 2010 in awe at the way he pulled things together and controlled from the back – although we lost and the game was remembered for other reasons, Dan’s performance stood us proud that day. It’s a shame he has left under a cloud and not stood back from pressure for a while, it is his motivation and skills that are needed in the final 20 mins to pull us from the flames at times. I hope he, or his haters right now don’t regret his decision in the next few weeks. I will be watching carefully and wishing him well.

  5. He can be a player that can make you want to rip your hair out. That said, I would have liked to seen him taken another shot at playing against Wales.

  6. Does it make sense that you select a player for a game one week as the best in the land and a few days later you can’t agree fast enough that he shouldn’t be playing International rugby?

    “It’s never an easy decision to make but I feel Dan has made the right decision ” AR

    1. To follow up I see it was now Robinson’s idea not to select Parks for the Wales game and it was time for the young blood. Shame this didn’t occur to him as we were traipsing round NZ watching us go from one failure to the next and that the 6 Nations was the perfect opportunity to START with new blood. I still feel the pain on the other side of the world lol

  7. The loss of Parks is a sad one. I’ve never been a massive fan of his but looking at the backs he has had to play with for most of his career, his contribution has been huge. Would RO’G have been so lauded if he had had the succession of average players playing outside him? What I’m trying to say is that with hindsight, perhaps he was a lot better than I gave him credit for.

    Looking forward, I agree that the possibility of playing more ‘dynamic’ 10’s has me excited. Hopefully Laidlaw spurred on by Weir (and a Jackson under pressure to deliver on his promise) can bring our talented outside division into play and compensate for our lack of guile in the 12 channel.

    To finish on Parks, I can’t help thinking that at some point in the next 2-3 years when we are 4 points up in the last 15 mins of a big match we are going to look to the bench for a man who can slow the tempo and put us at the right end of the pitch. I just hope that we won’t realise that we have a daft side burned, buttock slapping Australian shaped hole among our subs.

  8. I think the treatment Dan Parks has received has been shocking . Bad enough to be made scapegoat for a poor team performance by many fans and the media in general but to be hang out to dry by the coach in disgraceful . What kind of message is AR sending out to the rest of the players by treating a senior squad member so poorl ? If AR had any decency HE woils be the one resignIng after his poor record .

  9. I think that the way that some fans and some of the press have treated Dan Parks is disgraceful. Yes the charging down of his kick which lead to Hodgson’s try at Murrayfied last Saturday was regrettable but there are 14 other players in the team and in spite of the possesion and line breaks unfortunately Scotland did not score a try. Parks has played well in many Internationals.I remember in particular his outstanding performance in Scotland’s game against Ireland at Croke Park in 2010, when he was MOTM.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion