Parks taking nothing for granted
Dan Parks is refusing to be complacent about his place in Scotland's Rugby World Cup squad as he prepares to make a return to the starting line-up for Saturday's EMC Test with Italy.
Parks began 11 successive Tests before being omitted from the Scotland team to play Ireland in the RBS 6 Nations in February as Ruaridh Jackson was preferred. Parks and Jackson are the two specialist fly-halves in Scotland's 38-man provisional World Cup squad and are almost certain to be named in head coach Andy Robinson's final 30 on Monday.
"There are no guarantees about who's going to be in that 30," said Parks.
"It's about pressing for selection to get on there. You've got to play well this weekend in order to get there."
With versatile duo Chris Paterson and Greig Laidlaw the other options at fly-half, Parks and Jackson are likely to be vying for the starting spot in New Zealand.
Long feted for his tactical kicking game, Parks believes continual improvements with the ball in hand will benefit his chances and on Saturday he will seek to release a back division comprising Graeme Morrison, Nick De Luca, Simon Danielli, Max Evans and Rory Lamont.
Parks, who has won 61 caps since making his debut in 2004, added: "You're always trying to improve your game in every aspect. I'll be looking to play in the right areas, put the forwards on the front foot and hopefully if we can do that it will be a good day.
"It's about myself but also about bringing other guys into the game as well - trying to get the backline flowing and moving the ball to our dangermen out wide. We'll be trying to bring a brand of rugby we're looking to play in New Zealand."
Paterson and Laidlaw were not selected in the matchday 22 for Saturday's match.
Paterson is expected to travel to New Zealand for his fourth World Cup, but Laidlaw could be the victim of intense competition at scrum-half, with Rory Lawson, Mike Blair and Chris Cusiter - if he can prove his fitness - ahead in the pecking order.