Parks finds his range to down Gloucester

Glasgow 33 Gloucester 11
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The Independent Online

Dan Parks has endured some desperate times this year. Back in May, the Aussie-born outside-half was banned from driving for 18 months after being caught behind the wheel of his car three-times over the legal alcohol limit.

Then the 31-year-old found himself out in the international cold when the new Scotland coach, Andy Robinson, named his extended squad for the autumn. Still, Dan was "the man" at Firhill Stadium last night as the Glasgow Warriors, proud leaders of the Magners League, claimed their first victory against English opposition in the Heineken Cup since 2002.

Parks might be far from the finished article of a first-rate fly-half but he has 47 caps in the locker and had more than enough about him effectively to finish off Gloucester's hopes of making it to the knockout stages on the European front. He kicked 23 points – seven penalties and a conversion – and supplied try-yielding passes for centre Max Evans and full-back Bernardo Stortoni. In fact, such was Parks' influence, one way or another he was responsible for all of the points on the scoreboard, a couple of his miscued Garryowens gifting the Cherry and Whites the penalty and try they managed to pluck from a dismal, error-strewn display in the Clydeside mist.

It was a night's work which left the Gloucester coach Brian Redpath very disappointed. "Our execution was flat in a lot of the things we tried to do and our discipline in certain areas was poor and there were certain areas of the game where we simply didn't turn up," he said.

The Warriors set out their stall from the start, rolling back the visitors with a series of forward drives and drawing the two penalty opportunities Parks converted. His mistake then allowed Nicky Robinson to halve the deficit from the 22-metre line.

By the 21st minute, Glasgow had a six-point cushion again, Parks landing two more penalties and Robinson one at the other end. Parks undermined his efforts with another backward Garryowen, Charlie Sharples going over with a neat sidestep..

That got the Cherry and Whites to within a point. It was as close as they were going to get. Robinson pushed the conversion wide and soon after Luke Narraway was sent to the sin-bin for a tackle off the ball. Parks nailed his fifth penalty and then, with Gloucester on the ropes, sent out fizzing passes to either corner which presented tries to Max Evans in the left corner and the Argentine Stortoni in the right corner.

Which, with a Parks conversion, left Glasgow 27-11 ahead at the interval. Parks bookended the formality of the second half with a couple of penalties.

Glasgow: Tries Evans, Stortoni; Conversion Parks, Pens Parks 7. Gloucester: Try Sharples; Pens Robinson 2.

Glasgow: B Stortoni; P Murchie (D Van der Merwe, h-t), M Evans, G Morrison, T Evans; D Parks (C Gregor, 77), C Cusiter (M McMillan, 70); J Welsh (K Tkachuk, 61) D Hall (F Thomson, 70), M Low, D Turner, R Gray (T Barker, 70), K Brown, J Barclay (capt), R Vernon (C Forrester, 70).

Gloucester: C Spencer (T Molenaar, 58); C Sharples, J Simpson-Daniel, E Fuimaono-Sapolu (T Voyce, 50), L Vainikolo; N Robinson, R Lawson (D Lewis, 77); N Wood, S Lawson, G Somerville (P Doran-Jones, 64), D Attwood, A Brown (A Eustace, 76), P Buxton (capt) (G Delve, 64), A Strokosch, L Narraway.

Referee: C Berdos (France).

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