Scotland fly half, Dan Parks, announced his retirement from international Rugby Union with immediate effect on the afternoon of Tuesday 7th February 2012.
The decision, which according to half back partner Mike Blair, was met with “stunned silence and emotion,” came following several mistakes which were contributory factors in Scotland’s close loss at home to England in the RBS 6 Nations 2012 opening fixture.
Parks, 33, who plays his club rugby for Cardiff Blues, told:
“I was thinking about it [retirement] 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.”
“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.”
“There are some really talented guys coming through – Jacko (Ruaridh Jackson), Greig (Laidlaw) and Duncan (Weir) – and although I’m sad to be finishing my international career I have some fantastic memories of playing for Scotland and what that has meant to me.”
“I’ve no regrets at what has been an amazing career for me. I’ve got my favourite moments for Scotland – uppermost being the 2007 Rugby World Cup.”
“That was my first World Cup, something that as a youngster you would always aspire to play in, and it was just such a happy, exciting, positive time. It was also where I met my girl-friend, Laetitia.”
“Other memorable moments have been the two wins against England at home (2006 and 2008), the win against South Africa here at Murrayfield, the two wins in Argentina in 2010 and one in 2008 and the Ireland game in 2010 which was a great occasion.”
“I’ve made some incredible friends here in Scotland and in the Scotland team and a lot of those friendships were forged in Glasgow.”
“There are a lot of people within Scottish rugby who have been good to me. I would like to thank Matt Williams, Frank Hadden, Andy Robinson and all the various assistant coaches over the years, alongside the medical, fitness, kit, administrative and media staff who have helped me.”
“I was proud of myself in the way I came back from trouble off the pitch in order to regain my position firstly within the Glasgow team and then the Scotland team.”
“I want to say a massive thank you to my family and close friends. They’ve been invaluable for their constant support over the years.”
“I also want to thank the loyal fans of the Scotland team. It’s been a rocky road for me at times but at the end I’ve always given 100 per cent to play at my best and succeed for Scotland.”
“This is not the end of me as a rugby player. My international career is over but I want to keep playing club rugby. I always enjoyed my time in Glasgow. It’s one of great cities I’ve visited, so who knows what will happen in the future.”
Scotland’s head coach, Andy Robinson, said:
“I have really enjoyed working with Dan. He wasn’t in my first Scotland squads but through his own determination, hard work, skill and competitive spirit he forced his way back into selection. It’s never an easy decision to make but I feel Dan has made the right decision and thank him for his contribution over the years.”
Mike Blair, who was Parks’ half back partner for many internationals, told:
“The reaction of all the guys when Parksy announced his retirement said it all – stunned silence and emotion.”
“Dan is a hugely popular and respected member of the squad and his contribution to some of Scotland’s most famous victories cannot be under-estimated.”
“2010 sticks in my mind the most. Dan coming back from the wilderness to win MOTMs against Wales, Italy, Ireland, South Africa and Argentina in that year just showed how resilient and competitive he is. His humour, talent and energy will certainly be missed around the Scotland camp.”
Scotland will look to put their RBS 6 Nations 2012 campaign back on track – minus Dan Parks – at Wales’ Millennium Stadium on Sunday 12th Feburary 2012. Kick-off is 15:00 GMT (16:00 CET).