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Townsend salutes Paterson


Gregor Townsend

Gregor Townsend

Gregor Townsend

Scotland's Chris Paterson has been lauded after announcing his international retirement.

Paterson has formally called time on a Scotland career which included record hauls of 109 caps and 809 points in a 12-year international career and his former Scotland team-mate Gregor Townsend paid tribute to the personal characteristics which carried Paterson to the top of the game, but also allowed him to remain grounded.

"When I think of Chris, the words professionalism, competitor and humility are closely linked to how he has conducted himself over his illustrious career," Townsend said.

"I'd also add inspirational - as I can only imagine the many thousands of kids that have taken up the game in Scotland thanks to his exploits on the field and his exemplary demeanour off the field.

"It is apt that two of the best goal-kickers in world rugby have announced their retirements from international rugby so close together."

Paterson, who will be 34 in March, made his debut in the 1999 World Cup versus Spain before becoming a regular in the inaugural Six Nations in 2000.

He appeared at fly-half, wing and full-back and surpassed Gavin Hastings as Scotland's leading points scorer and Scott Murray's cap record on the 2008 tour to Argentina.

He can now reflect on a sensational international career.

"The big emotion is pride and happiness," Paterson said. "It's a terribly hard decision to make and one you don't want to have to make, but you do have to make it.

"When you do make it on your own terms, in your time, at the right time, it's a lot easier."

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