Thursday 21 September 2017

Match-winner Parks praises Sexton after dignity adds to 'special' day

Hugh Farrelly

SCOTLAND out-half and man of the match Dan Parks paid tribute to his Irish counterpart Jonathan Sexton for his graciousness in defeat following the Scots' surprise 23-20 win over 2009 Grand Slam champions Ireland at Croke Park on Saturday.

Parks amassed 18 points with the boot, including the winning penalty from the left-hand touchline, while Sexton missed two out of four kicks and was replaced by Ronan O'Gara after 51 minutes.

It was a disappointing day for Sexton and Ireland, who were chasing the Triple Crown on their final outing in Croke Park, but Parks revealed how the Ireland out-half was the first to offer his congratulations afterwards.

"I want to make mention of Jonathan Sexton," said Parks.

"He was given a bit of a hard time out there by the crowd but after the game he came in to swap jerseys with me but he didn't want to take mine even though he hasn't got a Scotland jersey.

"He offered me his and said 'this is your day' and that was special to me. In the end I got him my second jersey, but he's a young guy and to do that, full credit to him. I hope he gets a lot more caps.

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"I've been through plenty of hard days and it's great that he acknowledged that this was a good one for me. A lot of players wouldn't.

"We've all felt confidence the whole way through but we've been extremely unlucky at certain times. So not a great deal has changed but it does matter when you win away from home, against Ireland going for the Triple Crown."

Ireland flanker David Wallace praised the performance of the Scottish back row and accepted the line-out was a problem area.

"It wasn't so much the scrum, we made a few errors at crucial times in the line-out, but you've got to focus and get the set-pieces right," said Wallace.

"We made errors in those situations and that was disappointing because we lost momentum.

"Croke Park has been very good for us, you look at our record there and it's very good. We wanted to finish on a high note, with some silverware in the form of the Triple Crown and obviously with the last game here we wanted to come away with some good memories.

"Sadly, it wasn't to be but we've got to look forward and we're moving to the Aviva Stadium (Lansdowne Road) now, back to our old home, and we've just got to look to the future."

Irish Independent

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