Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Parks expects perfect start

Dan Parks

Dan Parks is determined Scotland can deliver against England on Friday and spark a successful RBS 6 Nations campaign.

Fly-half Parks is 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.

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. Looking ahead to Saturday's Test with England, which will see him win his 67th cap, Parks admitted: "It's a massive game - it's probably the biggest game I've played in."

Scotland are seeking just a second opening day win in 13 attempts, and Park added: "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."

Parks is set to start in place of Ruaridh Jackson, who began the last two matches of the Rugby World Cup, but is still hampered by a hamstring problem which saw him replaced in Scotland's final match of that tournament in New Zealand, the loss to England.

The injury blow saw Parks introduced to the fray in the opening stages and the Cardiff Blues number 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, and 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, but Parks remains philosophical about the Eden Park encounter, and knows Scotland must get everything right this week.

He 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."

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