Paterson calls time on Scotland career
Published 22/12/2011 | 05:00
Chris Paterson will reflect on a record-filled Scotland career after yesterday announcing his retirement from international rugby.
Scotland will tackle England at Murrayfield in the Six Nations on February 4 without the services of Paterson, who has called time on a career which included record hauls of 109 caps and 809 points.
Paterson anticipates the Calcutta Cup contest will be the moment full realisation comes that he will never again wear the dark blue jersey he wore with distinction and pride for 12 years and through four Rugby World Cup tournaments.
"That's when it will hit home," the 33-year-old said. "There's highlights every time you take the field. I was lucky enough to win a first cap, but to then play in a 50th and a 100th are things that spring to mind as highlights."
Paterson, who will be 34 in March, made his debut in the 1999 World Cup versus Spain before becoming a regular in the inaugural Six Nations in 2000.
He appeared at out-half, wing and full-back and surpassed Gavin Hastings as Scotland's leading points scorer and Scott Murray's cap record on the 2008 tour to Argentina.
He won his 100th cap against Wales in Cardiff in 2010. Paterson, who captained Scotland on 12 occasions between 2004 and '07, demonstrated his resilience, by returning in the November 2010 win over South Africa and forcing his way into the starting line-up during the 2011 Six Nations.
His final appearance -- the narrow World Cup loss to England at Eden Park -- will stay in the memory. While the prospect of retiring immediately after the World Cup was considered, the decision was made at the end of November following consultation with family and friends, Scotland head coach Andy Robinson and current and former team-mates.
"The big emotion is pride and happiness," Paterson added. "I've made the decision, which I think is the right decision. It was a terribly hard decision to make.
Paterson, meanwhile, is set to continue his club career with Edinburgh, for whom he is under contract until the end of the season, with the option of a further year.