Dan Parks retires from International rugby

Date posted: 09/02/2012

As you will all now be aware, longstanding Gilbert Ambassador, Dan Parks, recently announced his immediate retirement from International rugby. It came following the Scotland defeat by England at Murrayfield in the RBS 6 Nations opener.

Overall Parks scored 266 points, including a Scottish record 17 drop-goals in his career and 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.

“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,” he told www.scotlandrugbyteam.org.

“On reflection after the game, after talking it over with my family, girl-friend and close friends I’ve come to the decision that now is the right time to retire from the international game.

Dan Parks Scotland

Since announcing his International retirement, there has obviously been a number of articles and posts written about Dan Parks, many highlighting the perceived flaws and limitations in his game. However, the one real consistent message that has come across this week is the huge support that has been given to Dan from his peers; the players that have shared the same International dressing room with Dan throughout his 67 Caps.

Player after player has announced their support of Dan, as a player, a team mate and a leader. In contrast to many of the reports that have been written, each and every player that has spoken has commented on the unfair treatment that Dan has received throughout a turbulent International career. Indeed, in a recent article in the Telegraph, former International team mate Sean Lamont said: “Dan has been the most unfairly hounded player in a Scottish jersey, ever, without a shadow of doubt”, before pointing out that “Parksy had something like six of the last nine man-of-the-match awards, and yet he still got the pelters he got last weekend. It’s just not fair.”

From an International perspective, Dan should not be remembered for the unfair criticism or blame he has been given over the years, but as the man who steered Scotland through the 2007 Rugby World Cup and fought his way back into the International team after an 18 month exile and brilliantly marshalling his troops throughout the 2010 season. Dan picked up an unprecedented 3 Man of the Match awards from 4 games in the 2010 6 Nations, plus a series win over Argentina and a test win over the then World Champions South Africa. I think ‘Big’ Jim Hamilton summed it up best in his article in the Scotsman: “My fondest memory will be that kick he took in the 79th minute in Croke Park where he bisected the posts in a howling wind, which allowed us all to celebrate being winners in Ireland. Argentina, South Africa, England … you have highlights some people can only dream about, Parksy, and I wish you well.”

Thanks Dan, from all at Gilbert, it has been a pleasure.