Parks retirement a further blow to Scotland’s Six Nations chances

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Scotland fly-half Dan Parks has announced his immediate retirement from international rugby, following a below-par performance against England at Murrayfield last weekend.

Parks’ charged-down kick led to the only try of the game, as England came from behind to triumph 13-6, and the Cardiff Blues player has now decided to call time on an international career that saw him make 67 Test appearances.

Greig Laidlaw, captain of Edinburgh, is expected to take Parks’ place at fly-half, and he will have his work cut out in Scotland’s trip to Wales, which the Scots are understandably a big 5/1 to win in the Six Nations odds.

Further repercussions are evident from the fact that uncapped Glasgow Warriors fly-half Duncan Weir will now take a place on the replacements bench, meaning that Scotland will lack much-needed experience throughout their squad as a whole during their Six Nations campaign.

Perhaps what the Scottish side will miss most in Parks’ absence will be his proficiency in drop-goal situations.

The Australian-born fly-half holds the record for Scotland with 17 drop-goals, and his coach Andy Robinson paid tribute to the player, telling Sky Sports: “I have really enjoyed working with Dan. He wasn’t in my first squads, but through his own determination, hard work, skill and competitive spirit he forced his way back into selection.”

While there is an underlying sense that it could be a case of damage limitation for Scotland in their first match since the retirement of the experienced Parks, there have been calls from some high-profile former internationals to play with a more adventurous style in an attempt to bring better results than the stagnant rugby of late have reaped.

Scottish legend Jim Renwick, for one, has outlined his excitement at the emergence of players such as Laidlaw, and with him expected to start in Wales and contribute added creativity to the Scotland side, the 10/11 odds for Scotland to win with a 12-point start may yet prove good value.

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