Parks raring to go
Scotland's Dan Parks hopes a good performance against Italy will ensure his place at the World Cup.
Last Updated: 17/08/11 11:01pm
Dan Parks hopes a good performance for Scotland in Saturday's match against Italy will ensure his place at the World Cup and also enable him to reclaim his starting spot.
Parks was this week named by Scotland head coach Andy Robinson for their final warm-up match at Murrayfield, which will be his first start at fly-half since February's RBS Six Nations loss to Wales.
Glasgow Warriors number 10 Ruaridh Jackson had been preferred since but now Parks is out to secure his place in Scotland's 30-man World Cup squad, which will be named on Monday.
Parks, who has won 61 caps since making his debut in 2004, said: "I had a long run there for a while and was on the bench for the last couple of games in the Six Nations which was obviously disappointing.
"I've had a good pre-season and I'm ready and raring to go and hopefully things will go well this weekend."
Parks was absent in the early days of Robinson's reign, but forced an international return and began 11 successive Tests before being omitted midway through the Six Nations as Scotland attempted to utilise Jackson's more expansive game.
Jackson, though, is yet to fulfil his potential and Parks could travel to New Zealand as first-choice with a strong display against the Azzurri.
Long feted for his tactical kicking game, Parks believes he has improved with ball in hand and on Saturday he will seek to release a back division comprising Graeme Morrison, Nick De Luca, Simon Danielli, Max Evans and Rory Lamont.
The Cardiff Blues back 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."
Parks and Jackson are the two specialist fly-halves in Scotland's 38-man provisional World Cup squad and are almost certain to travel.
Versatile duo Chris Paterson and Greig Laidlaw offer cover for the position, but neither will play this weekend.
Full-back Paterson is likely to win a place in his fourth World Cup, but Laidlaw is anticipated to be a victim of the intense competition at scrum-half - Mike Blair, Chris Cusiter and Rory Lawson have all captained Scotland in the last 18 months.
Even so, with eight players set to miss the cut, Parks is refusing to be complacent about his World Cup hopes.
He said: "There's no guarantees about who's going to be in that 30.
"It's about pressing for selection to get on there. You've got to play well this weekend in order to get there."
Parks featured in all five of Scotland's 2007 World Cup fixtures and is eager to travel to the tournament for a second time.
He added: "Everyone's goal in rugby is to get to the World Cup.
"I was lucky enough to go to France in 2007 and it was the best sporting occasion I've had in my life.
"I'd love an opportunity to go this time.
"With New Zealand being such a strong force in world rugby I think it will be a truly special occasion."