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Connacht Confirm Parks Deal

Connacht Confirm Parks Deal

Connacht Rugby have announced that former Scotland out-half Dan Parks will be joining the province on a two-year contract.

Dan Parks will join Connacht from the Cardiff Blues at the end of the current season on a two-year deal which will see the Scotland out-half ply his trade at the Sportsground until at least the end of the 2013/14 season.

Parks is the RaboDirect PRO12’s all-time leading points scorer with a phenomenal 1,322 points to his name.

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In his seven seasons with Glasgow Warriors and two with Cardiff, he has scored an impressive 19 tries and kicked 274 penalties to leave him a staggering 473 points ahead of nearest rival Ronan O’Gara.

As a prolific goal kicker he has a kicking record of 73.4% which puts his accuracy ahead of top quality kickers such as Stephen Jones, Ruan Pienaar and Leigh Halfpenny.

The pivotal position was an area Connacht identified for strengthening and the 33-year-old New South Wales-born back will be charged with bringing through Connacht’s emerging talent and helping to turn some of Connacht’s narrow losses into significant victories.

Parks, who was the first player to reach the 1,000 points milestone in the league, comes with serious international pedigree.

He amassed 67 caps for Scotland since his international debut in 2004, the most recent being against England in this year’s RBS 6 Nations Championship.

It is this knowledge and expertise that Connacht will look to harness and his considerable experience looks set to compliment the exciting, youthful back-line that head coach Eric Elwood and backs coach Billy Millard already have in place.

Millard spent two seasons with the Cardiff Blues as their backs coach and he was key to enticing the out-half to Connacht.

Speaking about the signing, Millard said: “I’m excited about working with Dan, especially in the set-up we have here at the moment. He’s an absolute professional and I think he will bring an extra layer of experience to the squad.

“We spoke at length about the ambitions of Connacht Rugby, Dan knew the culture of the province and respected what we’re trying to do here.

“That was one of the main reasons he agreed to come to Connacht. He is a great guy, a leader and will add value on and off the field.”

Looking forward to the move himself, Parks added: “It’s been a huge decision in my life to move away from Cardiff to Connacht but a move which I am thrilled about.

“There is a fantastic mix of youth and experience in the squad and for me I am really excited about the future of Connacht Rugby. With my nine years of playing in the league I will be looking to bring that experience to Galway.

“I am looking forward to the next two seasons and the great challenges that will come with it. The four coaches Eric, Dan (McFarland), Billy and Mike (Forshaw) have lots of energy.

“They are very determined to make Connacht a fun and successful team. I am very happy to be joining a side which I believe is on the up and has a very bright future ahead.

Elwood commented: “Having Dan Parks come on board next season is a huge boost to the province. Having someone of his experience, both internationally with the number of caps he has and in the league as the highest points scorer of all-time, is a massive bonus.

“As a seasoned international we are confident he will bring a huge amount of experience to our team. He knows what we’re about, what we’re trying to do and his attitude and work ethic will add to the culture of the province.

“We are all looking forward to working with him and bringing through the next generation of Connacht players.”