Parks ready for "biggest game"
February 3, 2012
Dan Parks is hoping to orchestrate a Six Nations victory over England at Murrayfield on Saturday © Getty Images
Scotland fly-half Dan Parks is primed for the "biggest game" of his career against England at Murrayfield on Saturday.
The 33-year-old playmaker returns to the Scotland No.10 shirt with Ruaridh Jackson, who began the last two matches of their Rugby World Cup campaign, battling a hamstring injury that he suffered in their agonising exit at the hands of England.
One of six surviving members of Scotland's matchday 22 from the last time they won the opening match of the tournament, beating France 20-16 in February 2006, he is determined to make the most of his latest opportunity. Sean Lamont, Mike Blair, Alastair Kellock, Scott Lawson and Chris Cusiter were also in the mix that day and are involved on Saturday too, as Scotland seek just a second opening day win in 13 attempts.
It was Les Bleus' only defeat of the tournament as they won the title, with Scotland third with three wins - their best return since Italy joined the competition in 2000. "It's a massive game - it's probably the biggest game I've played in," said Parks of Saturday's Test with England, which will see him win his 67th cap. "In 2006 we won our first match and went on to have a reasonably good tournament, certainly the best we've had a recent times.
"It's massive to get off to a good start. We realise how hard it's going to be against a young, really excited, energetic English team. We've got to put it all on the line and hopefully get the result we're after."
The injury to Jackson saw Parks introduced to the fray in the opening stages of their Auckland showdown with England and the Cardiff Blues No.10 attempted a make-or-break play to seal Scotland's progress late in the game. Scotland were leading but needed to win by eight points or more, thus denying England a losing bonus point, to advance to the quarter-finals.
Parks said: "At the time in the game it was 12-9 with four minutes to go. We had looked at it during the week, putting up that high ball."
It was something of a lottery play, with England claiming possession, despite Scotland players lurking, before going down field and scoring the winning try through wing Chris Ashton.
Parks remains philosophical about the Eden Park encounter, but knows Scotland must get everything right this week. Parks added: "We had a chance of winning that game. In the end England clawed us back and got on top in the end. We're going to need a bit more this week and we're trying to work on those little things that can hopefully give us an advantage."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"Gentlemen, if you want to see the World Cup going south yet again, you are going the right way about it," John Taylor looks at the state of European rugby
The Heineken Cup proved once again just why it is the best domestic rugby competition in the world at the weekend and Monday Maul picks out some of the key talking points
The latest Week in Pictures brings you a selection of the best snaps from around the rugby world with scantily clad ladies, O'Driscoll and snow all featuring