Chris Paterson quits Scotland 'at the highest level'
Scotland's record cap holder and points scorer Chris Paterson says a desire to quit while at his peak is his reason for retiring from international rugby.
"I've always said I wanted to bow out at the highest level of the game, while I still had the ability to go on," said the 33-year-old from Galashiels.
"My biggest fear would be devaluing what I have achieved and devaluing the jersey.
"You have to stop at some point and this is the right time for me."
Paterson amassed 809 points from 109 international appearances.
He told BBC Scotland: "My thought was to retire at the World Cup but having got to a fourth World Cup and to have played reasonably well - that last game against England in Auckland was something special - I thought I could have gone on to the Six Nations.
"But having time to think and time to discuss it with my family, it has to end at some point, which is the sad reality.
"And to be in control of that and to be happy with the decision was important to me.
"It's a difficult decision to make but, when you know it is the right one, it makes it a lot easier.
"I can sit back and celebrate a career that I've had a fantastic time with."
Scotland head coach Andy Robinson praised the player's "constant desire" to improve and described coaching him as a "delight".
He said: "What a fantastic career Chris has had for Scotland.
"He should be celebrated as one of Scotland's greatest ever internationalists.
"I respect his decision and thank him for all he has done. Having coached against him, he was a player I always earmarked as a real threat."
Paterson scored 22 tries, kicked 90 conversions, landed three drop-goals and kicked 170 penalties in a long and distinguished international career.
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