Parks jumps before being pushed as Scots look to the future
Dan Parks, who was never the most popular outside-half in his adopted homeland of Scotland, but occasionally was the most effective, will not wear the blue shirt again after announcing his international retirement yesterday.
The 31-year-old exiled Australian said in a prepared statement that he had considered quitting following last autumn's World Cup, but decided to declare himself available for Six Nations duty because England were the opening-round opponents and he felt there was an element of "unfinished business" following Scotland's bitterly frustrating defeat to them at the World Cup.
But his performance in Edinburgh four days ago was well below par and it seemed yesterday that he had been given an opportunity to bow out while the choice was still his to make.
This suspicion was reinforced by Andy Robinson's remarks:. "It's never an easy decision to make, but I think Dan has made the right one."
Robinson will now turn to a younger generation of No 10s charged with the task of stamping some authority on Scotland's most obvious problem position. Ruaridh Jackson, Greig Laidlaw and Duncan Weir are the front-runners in the immediate term.
At his best, Parks, who scored 266 points in 67 international appearances over eight years, brought a pinpoint tactical kicking game to the table and he was valued by his colleagues. "We all had the same reaction when Dan announced his retirement: stunned silence and emotion," said scrum-half and former captain Mike Blair.
Meanwhile, Munster's hopes of holding a training camp in Italy next week have gone by the wayside after their game against Aironi on Sunday was called off yesterday because of freezing weather. (© Independent News Service)