France v Scotland, Six Nations, Stade de France, February 5
Parks targets first win in Paris
February 4, 2011
Dan Parks in training at the Stade de France ahead of Scotland's match with France © Getty Images
Dan Parks is optimistic Scotland's impressive recent form can carry them to a first Six Nations win over France in Paris on Saturday.
Since winning the Grand Slam in last spring's Six Nations, Les Bleus have lost three of their five Tests, including a 59-16 mauling at home to Australia. However, Scotland have not beaten France since 2006 - the last time they won their opening fixture of the Six Nations - and are chasing a first win in Paris since winning the final Five Nations title in 1999.
After five wins in six Tests, Parks knows Scotland are in good shape to end their Paris hoodoo and upset France.
"It's an exciting time," he said. "It's the start of a fresh championship and we're on the back of some good performances in the last couple of outings. It's a very tough place to go, but it's a great place to go.
"It's a really great stadium to play in. The French people are going to get right behind their team. We're going to hopefully spoil that party - that's our plan, to go there and impose ourselves on the match. If you can get on top of a team early in a game that gives you great confidence and diminishes theirs."
Parks, who has been in superb form for Scotland in recent months, knows his ability to dictate the tempo and direction of the game from fly-half will be instrumental to a Scotland win. The opening quarter of the game will be vital, but so too is retaining control for the full duration of the match.
"In any game I play I want to do my best and do what I can for the team to win," he said. "I'm a key figure in that, but we'll plan to win the match over 80 minutes."
Parks is not too concerned about the historical significance of victory in Paris - a venue where Scotland have succeeded twice in the last 42 years - but knows a winning start to the tournament is all-important.
"We have to concentrate on our performance and what we're going to bring to the match," he added. "The start is hugely important. It gives you momentum, confidence to go into each match, but we've got a really tough job in hand this week. France are an exceptional team and we're going to have to be at our best to win the match."
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