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Parks and Beyond

Dan Parks, an enigma and a divisive character – the Marmite (or should that be Vegimite?) of Scottish Rugby, a true love or hate character.  In my time following rugby I can’t think of a Scottish player who has created in me such schizophrenic opinions.

Dan Parks is one of the primary reasons this Blog exists.  Hours after Scotland had fallen to Argentina at World Cup 2007 Rory and I a rather long discussion about the merits of Parks as captain.  Jason White has led by example but the vocal leader on that pitch throughout the 2007 tournament was Parks.  His performance against Italy on a wet night in St Etienne was outstanding and throughout the tournament he was geeing up his teammates and ass-patting like it was going out of fashion.  I loved him for it.  Sure, he wasn’t perfect but at that point in time he was playing effective and infectious rugby.  Alas, his shortcomings became more evident of the next couple of years and by the time Andy Robinson came into his post Parks was bête noir for many Scotland fans and it looked like his time had came.  However, he answered the Scotland call in 2010 and came back with 3 man of the match performances including showing balls of steel versus Ireland at Croke Park to kick a last minute penalty to win the game.  Love him or hate him he certainly has guts.   His last game was not his finest but it is a shame to see a genuine, hard working servant of Scottish rugby leave in such circumstances.  Now he’s retired I can forget the times where I’ve wanted to throttle him for poor decisions and missed tackles and go back to the rose tinted version I had circa 2007.  Good luck for the future Dan!

You can read our occasional correspondent Fraser’s piece on Dan over at his blog.

Looking forward Scotland will now go south to Wales with a new fly half pulling the strings.  I’m presuming it’ll be Laidlaw with young Duncan Weir on the bench.  It is certainly two attacking options and an exciting prospect. Scotland will have to change the way they approach the game – caution has to be thrown to the wind.

I’d much rather see us attack the Welsh and get thumped than see us play rugby which makes my eyes bleed and lose by the odd point in 5. Since the English game I’ve spoken to so many people who are gutted that the Scottish side were so limited in their play and didn’t try and play with real adventure.

I’m at the point with the national team where I’m so used to losing I now just focus on performance.  Individually the players have plenty of talent but in the national jersey the brain seems to freeze and there has to be the question over whether the style of play contributes to this.  Of course there has to be discipline and strength about the performance but not at the expense of having the freedom to try things.  Too many players look uncomfortable in a Scotland shirt, I want them to be happy and enjoying the experience.  My only wish for this weekend is that the players go out on Sunday, be adventurous and enjoy their rugby… you never know what will happen!

3 Responses

  1. The circumstances in which Parks has departed is sad. Andy Robinson selected him !! If Andy selected me at No2 for Scotland I wouldnt refuse !! I would like to believe also that if I under performed – which I absolutely would, then I wouldnt be held to acount !!!
    Anyway, you are spot on – onwards and upwards. I am really excited about Laidlaw and weir, more than I have been about any Scotland players for years. Vissers comes to us in June – could be brighter times !! … if the management get it right !!!
    I could even see a scotland team starting with Laidlaw at 9 and Weir at 10. Changeout weir for another 9 in the second half and move laidlaw to 10 – has worked for edinburgh this year on several occasions !!
    All positive stuff, however, I do worry about Townsend !!!!

  2. Good article, but there’s obviously a vacancy for a proofreader at Scottish Rugby Blog…

  3. In my little bio at the bottom I may need to add illit…illiter….illate…illort….thick! :o) Alas trying to write an piece on the hoof leads to such errors.

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