Blues can be Magners League Champs says Parks

Guinness PRO12 Editor

13 Aug 2010


Dan Parks believes Cardiff Blues can replace the Ospreys as Magners League Champions this season.

The Blues’ star summer signing is convinced his new side have what it takes to match the achievements of their Welsh rivals by claiming first prize in the newly-expanded competition.

Parks moved to the Welsh capital following seven years with Glasgow, for whom he became the first man to amass 1,000 points in Celtic League rugby as the Warriors reached last season’s inaugural Magners League Play-Offs.

But while it was the Warriors and not the Blues competing in the knockout stages three months ago, Parks believes his new team possess a greater strength in depth that will give him a better chance than ever before of tasting Magners League glory.

"I think the Blues have a really good chance at challenging for the league," said Parks, who was in superb form for both club and country last season despite critics suggesting that his Scotland career would be ended under Andy Robinson.

"[At] Glasgow we always tried to win our Heineken Cup matches, but we always thought we had a chance in the Magners League.

"Over the last few years we were near the top [but we] just couldn't quite push on… maybe that was down to the depth we had in the squad.

"I made the decision to move to Cardiff based on the fact that I wanted a fresh challenge.

"I'd been at Glasgow for a long time and it was hard to leave as I've made so many good friends up there and enjoyed playing there, but I wanted the chance of playing somewhere new and obviously the Blues are a great team to join.

"I'm very fortunate to come into a team that is full of internationals and future talent. I'm really excited about the new challenge, getting onto the pitch and winning some games."

Parks arrives in Wales on the back of arguably his best-ever season, having regularly impressed for Glasgow and then taken Scotland to new heights.

The 32-year-old’s international career was thought by many to be all but over after he was dropped by Frank Hadden and then ignored by Robinson but Parks proved his doubters wrong with a string of commanding displays when he finally won a recall for this year’s Six Nations.

Parks won three man-of-the-match awards in the tournament, kicking the Scots to an heroic win in Ireland, before guiding his country to an historic series triumph in Argentina during a highly successful summer.

The Australian-born playmaker, who made more than 100 Magners League appearances following his switch from Leeds, admits he was pleased with last season’s form but knows that he cannot rest on his laurels if he wants to dislodge Ceri Sweeney as the Blues’ first-choice No10.

"I was happy with my form for Glasgow and Scotland last season but it is obviously a team effort," added Parks.

"I think it was a good year for me personally culminating in the Six Nations where I felt we played quite well but without much success until the last game against Ireland. Then going out to Argentina and winning the Test series was great.

"I'd like to think I can bring a few things to the team, but the Blues are already a quality team as they showed towards the end of last season when they hit their stride.

"The individuals flourished in the team and to finish with so many wins was very impressive so I'm really excited about being involved.

"I'm settling in well. I met all the players on Monday morning and have started on the conditioning work.

"My body is feeling it a bit at the minute, as it's early days in pre-season for me, but I know I'll get the benefits over the course of the season. They are working us hard but I don't mind too much as I'm sure I'll reap the rewards later on."