Dan Parks may be in the form of his life but the Scotland fly-half admits he had to beat a bout of nerves to lead new club Cardiff Blues to victory on the opening weekend of the Magners League season.
Parks kicked 14 points in a 34-23 win over Edinburgh in the Welsh capital, marking his competitive debut with a man-of-the-match performance.
But while things may have turned out alright on the night for the Blues’ big summer signing, Parks revealed he was feeling the heat before the start of Saturday night’s encounter.
“I was nervous before the game and my first kick. It was crucial to put us on the scoreboard and get us rolling,” said Parks, who became the first player to score 1,000 points in Magners League history when he reached the landmark for Glasgow Warriors last season.
“It was a good confidence booster as I like to always get the first one over. It was a decent strike after I’d missed a couple in the warm-up which was a bit dodgy.
“But I like to be nervous. It’s always good to have nervous energy and I’m sure all players would agree with that.
“Dai Young was really good in his instructions and told me just to get the team and backline moving forward.
“I really enjoyed the game and tried not to do too much too early. I managed to kick all my kicks and the game worked out quite well for us in the end.
“It’s a fantastic start to the season for us and I’m really happy.”
Next up for Parks and the Blues is a trip across the Irish Sea to face last season’s losing finalists Leinster.
The Dubliners were narrowly beaten by Parks’ old side Glasgow in Round 1 and the 32-year-old is expecting a tough battle as Joe Schmidt’s men look to bounce back in style at a venue Parks is still unfamiliar with.
“I haven’t played at the Showgrounds very often – in fact it may have only been the once and that was a few years ago in the Heineken Cup. I don’t know why,” added Parks.
“Maybe it’s because the games have fallen during the Six Nations in the past. I know last year it was just before we played Ireland when the lads travelled out there.
“But Dublin is always a tough place to go to and their record speaks for itself. They have been at the top in the league and Europe in recent years and it will be a tricky test for us.”
Parks was one of the domestic game’s standing performers last term, guiding Glasgow to the inaugural Magners League Play-Offs and earning a Scotland recall after a lengthy absence.
The Australian-born playmaker had been overlooked for the latter part of Frank Hadden’s Scotland tenure and the early part of Andy Robinson’s reign, with critics quick to suggest that his international career was all but over.
But while Parks was naturally disappointed to miss out on a substantial run of Tests, he simply got his head down, worked hard and produced the goods on a weekly basis with the Warriors.
That form eventually saw him back in the Scotland fold for the Six Nations, and Parks didn’t disappoint.
His superb return saw Scotland come close to shocking Wales and beating England before another commanding display paved the way for a heroic triumph over reigning Grand Slam winners Ireland at Croke Park.
Parks then guide his country to glory in Argentina during the summer as he cemented his position as Scotland’s undoubted number one, number 10.
Robinson was in attendance at the Cardiff City Stadium and cannot fail to have been impressed with his fly-half’s showing, but Parks himself has already put the international calendar to the back of his mind and is determined to focus on nothing other than his new life with the Blues.
For Parks, right now, the Magners League is his be all and end all.
“It’s always nice when the Scottish entourage come down but it was good to be part of a winning team. We’re delighted with the win and it was great to have the fans behind us.
“It was important we started well on the back of the Blues’ success last season. It was a big game for us and to get the five points is pleasing. It’s onwards and upwards.
“There were some fantastic tries and there was a lot of team involvement which was a positive. It was a good performance but we hope there is more to come.
“Hopefully there will be more opportunities for them to get moving as it’s such a great squad. And I hope to create more fond memories.”