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Dan Parks proves he's game for a laugh

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John Beattie | 14:46 UK time, Thursday, 1 April 2010

Ok, it's after midday and so it's 'hands up' time: it was a laser-guided kicking spoof.

But, as I interviewed Dan Parks, it did seem to me that his season has been extraordinary, and he has gone from being the outsider, in terms of Scotland, to the key player.

He is our country's most valuable players now.

Dan doesn't use a laser-guided kicking tee, he just lines the ball up the way he has done since growing up as a little boy in Sydney and kicks it over the posts.

There was a time when he used a pile of sand, but now it's a kicking tee he bought in Leeds some 10 years ago.

Dan Parks, who doesn't use a laser-guided kicking teeWhy is Parks so valuable? Well, I watched Glasgow training yesterday and he is unfailingly happy at his work. Dan Parks was the man joking and laughing, getting stuck in and chatting away. In short, he is the perfect team man.

Secondly, he keeps a scoreboard ticking over. There is nobody else in European rugby who does what he does with a ball.

There might be a bigger topic in terms of technology coming into rugby, though. It is just possible that a laser might help a player, but I doubt it.

We use scrummage machines to practise, but we play against bodies. A rugby boot won't help you run, sticky gum might help you catch but it probably won't make you a better player. Shoulder pads might engender heroism, but the best tacklers don't wear them.

Aside from using technology to see if a score has been made, or reviewing footage to check for foul play, rugby is beautifully shorn of technology. And I like that. Though you may have other ideas?

And Dan Parks, with his innate kicking ability, is possibly the man who demonstrates that as well as anybody in the world.

If you have a talent in this world it will get you there and get you there superbly; I salute the guy.

He's nobody's fool, and thanks to him and Al Kellock for allowing us to feature him in an April fool.


  • Comment number 1.

    What is the likelyhood of Dan Parks becoming captain next season?
    He shows he has the desire to play for Scotland, and with his composure and experience, I reckon he would be a great captain. I am not doubting that Cusiter and Blair are doing a good job, but, I think Parks deserves more recognition of his services.

  • Comment number 2.

    nice one! totally got me.
    on this technology-free note, i think kicking tees (or sand, or any other extraneous device) should be banned. let's keep it simple before it turns into american football.

  • Comment number 3.

    Very pleased at DP's improvement but captain? Would have thought Kellock, Strokosch, & Barclay might be looked at first if Robinson decides to move it away from Cusiter/Blair.

  • Comment number 4.

    You know what they say about many a true word spoken in jest, and I think this blog raises a good point about technology in the game, something that vastly inferior round-ball code is having a hard time coming to terms with too at the moment. I for one think Rugby Union has the balance right as well as any sport and more so than most: it's made it a better game, but it hasn't BECOME the game.

    I can't agree with post number 2 on the kicking game I'm afraid. If you're including sand then how do you decide when a hoof into the ground becomes "extraneous"? Plain and simple fact is without tees kicking accuracy rates would slump and before long you'd be looking at a rash of 0-0 matches the way the modern game is right now.

  • Comment number 5.

    Im glad this was an Aprils Fool! I was awfully worried for a moment! But if no kicking tees were used, there wouldnt be any need for specialised kickers! I agree with 23 years 9 months and counting. And kudos to DP, Kellock and Beattie for worrying every Scotland supporter for a minute! Im still partly worried its true!

  • Comment number 6.

    I agree with Parks as possible captain. He is the purest example of redempion and desire to improve one's game. One point I would like to make is that the reason why Cusiter and Blair were joint captains is that they play a maximum of 60 mins per match each. Parks played all 80 mins versus Ireland so who better to have as a player who is always near the action.

  • Comment number 7.

    Excellent article! I can't believe anyone might have believed it haha I'm as gullible as a horny schoolgirl and even I knew it was horse manure. Well done me. Gold star.

    Excellent blog btw.

    Even when I was lambasting Dan Parks poor form in previous years, I was also lamenting the fact that none of the other Scotland players were talking on the pitch and encouraging each other in the same way that he does.

    Kellock is similar and possibly Patterson, but enthusiasm and encouragement is a rarely seen sight in a Scottish rugby team until lately, and they are certainly not traits that should only be seen in captains.

    Nice to see someone enjoying his day job of professional rugby, one I would have loved to have experienced even for only one game. It's an antipodean attitude and one that we could do with more of.

  • Comment number 8.

    I thought April Fool gags were supposed to be witty and difficult to spot. This was leaden, pedestrian and typical Beattie - not as clever as he thinks.

  • Comment number 9.

    What, 4 good games and he's the captain? how about the 40-odd shockers before that.

    Don't get me wrong I'm delighted his form has turned and long may it continue but he'll have to do it for Scotland on a far more consistent basis for me to be convinced he's captain material.

    PS You had me there, I was raging reading the original article. Didn't even realise it was the 1st of April til I read this.

  • Comment number 10.


    Back from the Scotland Bulgaria womens football game which was last night at Falkirk. Scotland won 8-1, and I am getting to like football. But you know what gets me? All that writhing around in feigned minute I am watching rugby with people colliding at force eight on the Richter scale, the next it's football where one minor touch can result in a stretcher and then a miraculous recovery.

    Thanks goodness we don't have fake injuries in rugby. What do you mean bloodgate?


  • Comment number 11.

    Dan Parks only plays because there is no alternative! His goal kicking HAS improved, but his open play decision making is atrocious. His tackling is feeble and what's more, he talks in a funny gutteral language that is alien to most Jocks.

    One swallow does not make a summer, and he just cannot get the backs moving with any cohesion.

    Bin him now, and start looking for someone who can get the most out of an improving side-before the World Cup.

  • Comment number 12.

    Whenever Parks has a Scotland jersey on his back and the ball in hand, I ALWAYS get the cold dry fear. With Parks it seems that he can either have moments of absolute genius or mistake himself for a beginner. This Six Nations, he showed himself to be genius.

    Even when he nudged that cross-field kick in the dying moments at Croker I was cursing him... and when he decided to kick the goal instead of go for touch, I was cursing him. However, when all was said and done and you look back at Parks' Six Nations campaign, even the harshest of critics has to admire his play in the last couple of months. I certainly do.

    Hopefully we'll get a few more good Championships out of him and a big World Cup performance out of him too. Scotland have to start grooming a couple of real world class stand-offs though. Maybe if the SRU funded Border rugby again we may be able to find one...

    As for the football John, I think particular mention has to be made to one of Scotland's greatest sportspersons Julie Fleeting. 111 goals in 111 games is a superhuman achievement and at 29, I look forward to when she overtakes Mia Hamm's record of 158 goals... there seems to be no stopping her.

  • Comment number 13.

    Hi John,

    Good to see some BBC pundits not walking and talking like a robot.

    The inherent belief that 'technology is progress' held by so many people is due some ridicule.

    PS This blog still has the same title on the rugby union home page as last week.

  • Comment number 14.

    Dan Parks as captain is a ridiculous idea he had one good tournament let him build on his success of the last two months and give him time to grow as a better player with added responsibility comes extra pressure which would hinder him.I always believed there should be a group of leaders in a team that command respect and lead by example leaders that assist a captain when tactics need changing something that Scotland has lacked in recent times but wth players like Barclay Beattie and Patterson the future looks a lot brighter than it has done for a very long time.

  • Comment number 15.

    Haha, this truly scared me at first, it was quite amusing but a little too close for comfort after this year's standings to start making jokes.
    But the more time I have to recover from it the funnier it gets. DP is off to the Blues though so hopefully it will give us more options for the future after he helps Glasgow get into the playoffs this year that is :)

  • Comment number 16.

    Yes was a good one! I admit to being half way through the laser-tee article and feeling my anger and disbelief building rapidly as I read every line. THEN I remembered the date. I wasn’t quite an April's fool, but almost!

    As far as Dan is concerned, Glasgow is going to have to find a way to keep the scoreboard ticking over without him. It's not going to be easy.

    I've stated, on this thread before (at least a couple of times) my admiration for Frazier Climo's game and I understand he had another cracker on Saturday. He could be the man, at least with a long term view...but not in the short term.

    Glasgow must be creative in the short term with how they fill the hole that Dan leaves, but I don't know how.

  • Comment number 17.

    john. regarding the future for scotland i find it mystifying that rory hutton at this moment in time has not got a professional . contract. what are the beaks at murrayfild playing at. hutton has the ability and talent to go up the ladder and should be given every oppertunity to develop at a higher level.

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    due to limited oppertunities at pro team level .why try to sign a foreigner .to develop for scotlands future it should go to a scottish lad.


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