It will be a big day in Cardiff on Saturday for the Scotland player who will be making history and also for the one who must have thought he was history. Named at full-back yesterday in the XV to face Wales, Chris Paterson will become the first man to reach the century mark in terms of appearances for Scotland, though not strictly in terms of caps. "You don't get a cap every time you play," the Borderer pointed out. "You get one the first time you play, one for every World Cup and one on your 50th appearance." Plus another to mark the century, a Scottish Rugby Union official confirmed, which will make it six in total for Paterson.
There will be no actual cap for Dan Parks when he runs out at the Millennium Stadium but it will be a significant occasion nonetheless for the Glasgow outside-half. There have been times in the past 15 months when his international days seemed to be behind him – not least last August when Andy Robinson, Scotland's new head coach, omitted the native Sydneysider from his 44-man training squad for the autumn internationals.
Having been deemed surplus to requirements for the 2009 Six Nations Championship by Robinson's predecessor, Frank Hadden, and seen across the Scottish rugby fraternity as too conservative and too error-prone for the pivotal position, it seemed that Parks had made his last appearance for the land of his Ayrshire grandfather, his 47th having come as a replacement against Canada in November 2008.
Following a string of impressive performances for Glasgow, though, Dan will be the man pulling the strings for Scotland in Cardiff – which happens to be where he will be playing his club rugby next season. The 31-year-old has been brought in from the cold with the intention of giving the Scots a greater control than Phil Godman managed to provide off limited possession in the 18-9 defeat against
France at Murrayfield last Sunday. "We need to be able to dominate territory," Robinson said. "Dan has been playing consistently well for Glasgow."
Parks said: "Andy spoke to me and told me I wasn't going to be involved in the autumn, and that was fine. I knew I had to get my game back and I believe I've done that."
Robinson has made two other changes. Euan Murray returns at tighthead prop after missing the Sunday match against France because of his religious beliefs, while Rory Lamont comes in on the left wing, his brother Sean shifting to inside centre.
Ireland also have a change on the left wing for their visit to Paris on Saturday, Keith Earls replacing Andrew Trimble. Head coach Declan Kidney could make an alteration at blindside flanker, too, having left the No 6 slot open to allow Stephen Ferris more time to recover from the knee injury that forced him to miss the opening day win against Italy at Croke Park last Saturday. France make two changes, both on the wing: Alexis Palisson for Aurélien Rougerie and Julien Malzieu for Benjamin Fall.Reuse content