Dan Parks believes strength-in-depth will give Cardiff Blues a great chance of winning a first-ever Magners League crown this season.
The Blues currently top the table following Thursday night’s victory over Connacht and Parks is confident his new side can remain in a Play-Off place right up until the end of the 22-match campaign.
The main reason for that belief stems from the quality of players throughout the Blues squad – a squad packed with internationals, Magners League veterans and plenty of bright, young talent.
“The squad is fantastic,” said Magners League Ambassador Parks after the 22-6 win over Eric Elwood’s men.
“There are some great players but the best thing is the competition in every single position, and not just from one other player but two or three in some positions.
“It’s really competitive and that drives people on. It’s a really good place to be.”
Prior to moving to the Blues at the beginning of the summer, Parks spent seven years with Glasgow Warriors.
And while his new team-mates failed to reach last season’s Magners League Play-Offs, the Warriors had no such trouble as Parks guided them to an impressive third-place finish.
But despite last year’s success with Glasgow, Parks has no doubt that he made the right move in coming to the Welsh capital, with the depth of the squad again playing a big part in his decision to swap Scotland for Wales.
Dan Parks has settled in well at the high-flying Blues
“The bigger squad has been a big thing,” added Parks, who has already scored 55 points in four games for the Blues.
“At Glasgow we had a very strong 15 with a few blokes we could’ve brought in. At Cardiff there is really tough competition in every position.
“Notoriously in the international windows Glasgow have struggled. At Cardiff we have quality players, some New Zealanders who can’t play internationals and it makes a difference. And they are crucial parts of the season to get points.
“I had been at Glasgow for seven seasons. I think last year was our best season and I felt it was the right time for me to move.
“There are plenty of young guys coming through there and I thought it was time to give them a shot and for me to try something different. It was an opportunity I couldn’t say no to.
“At Glasgow last year we showed we had the potential to succeed. I think Cardiff have the capabilities and the players to challenge for the league and they’ve done that in the past. Hopefully I can achieve that here. I felt there was that potential at Glasgow but it was a case of falling just short.”
The Blues are certainly on track to give Parks a chance of lifting some silverware this season, with the win over Connacht their fourth in five games this term and their 14th success in their last 15 fixtures in all competitions.
Wins over Edinburgh, the Dragons, Treviso and Connacht have seen the Blues start with a bang, unlike last term when they lost their first three matches and were forced to play catch up for the remainder of the tournament.
Parks and Casey Laulala scored all the points against Connacht
Last night’s victory may not have been the prettiest and there is clearly still plenty of room for improvement but Parks is delighted to be part of a side that is turning winning into a habit.
“Like last week we won ugly, we did what we had to do.
“Sometimes you don’t get the conditions and can’t run in five or six tries. It was sprinkling when I turned up and it was raining when I ran out. On a pitch like that it’s obviously very slippery. The ball was skidding around…and you just have to do what you can to win.
“Connacht were a very formidable outfit. Fionn Carr was very impressive – he caused us problems every time he got the ball. They’re a tough team and they will win a lot of games.
“They kept coming at us and tried to play it from deep. But it was frustrating for us. We would put in one too many to clear the ball and they would pick up and break away or we would get the ball and wouldn’t throw the extra pass. These are all early season things.
“We could’ve scored three tries and won by a big margin but we’d still have just got the four points. As a player in a game like that you’re happy to get the win and want to get onto next week.
“There have been games where players in the dressing room may have lost it in a dour battle, so whenever you win you have to be happy.”
For more features from our 12 Magners League Ambassadors, check out the Ambassadors section of this website.