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Former Connacht and Scotland outhalf Dan Parks retires after '11 great years as a pro'

“You get to a point,” the Australian told TheScore.ie, “where you’re running and others are catching up, and passing you.”

An emotional Parks after his final Connacht game in May.
An emotional Parks after his final Connacht game in May.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

AFTER 171 APPEARANCES and 1,582 points for three Pro12 clubs, former Scotland international Dan Parks is retiring from professional rugby.

The Australian-born out-half represented Scotland 66 times and played his final Test match in 2012. He played with Connacht 50 times over the past two seasons and featured in memorable Heineken Cup victories over Biarritz and Toulouse. Parks retires as the league’s highest ever points-scorer.

TheScore.ie caught up with the 36-year-old before he hopped on a plane for ‘a short break’ away from his current home in Galway. “It was a decision that I took after I had thought long and hard about it. Still, it didn’t come lightly. Everyone’s playing career has to come to an end and I am very fortunate that I had 11 great years as a pro. It’s one of those things but once I made my decision I was happy with it.”

While Pat Lam seems intent to take Connacht in a new direction — contract extensions were not offered to the likes of Gavin Duffy or Frank Murphy — Parks says all of his discussions with the province’s head coach were amicable. He commented:

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Connacht and am still living in Ireland. Galway is a city we [Parks and his family] really enjoy and we hope to be here a little while longer. It is the right time to move on as there are a lot of really good, young players coming through. Their chance is now.”

Dan Parks leaves the field after his final home game Parks thanks the Connacht supporters after his final home game. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Parks continued, “I’m lucky that I can retire when I want, rather than injury or someone else making the call. When you’re younger, you think you can play forever. However, you get to a point when you’re running and others are catching up, and passing you. The younger lads are getting bigger and stronger; that’s the way the game is going.

“The lads are back in pre-season with Connacht now so I’ll miss times like that but I’m able to look back on a great career with many highlights and fond memories.”

Parks is open to moving into the post-rugby fields of either media or coaching. He was backs coach for Connacht’s U19 team last season. “Coaching is something I’ve always wanted to do but there have been no final decisions yet,” he added.

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Patrick McCarry

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