Never Mind The Video Games Says Dan

Dan Parks' kicking from hand against Italy last Saturday was key in securing position and territory to allow Chris Paterson to maintain his 100% goal kicking ratio at the tournament and book Scotland a quarter-final berth. Such accuracy however, does not just happen and both men have stressed the importance of the hours spent in practice on the training pitch.

Dan Parks' kicking from hand against Italy last Saturday was key in securing position and territory to allow Chris Paterson to maintain his 100% goal kicking ratio at the tournament and book Scotland a quarter-final berth.

Such accuracy however, does not just happen and both men have stressed the importance of the hours spent in practice on the training pitch.

For Parks, his kicking has evolved over the years from a humble start when he was a young boy. He said: 'At the front of my house we had two telegraph poles and every afternoon, I'd go out there and kick. I probably started around the age of about eight until I was 16. It was't because I was practising but just because I enjoyed it. Instead of playing video games, that was my thing. My brother would join me every so often but I mainly went out there by myself.

'I've never had a kicking coach. I just found it useful when Mick (Byrne - former Scotland kicking coach, now with New Zealand) was involved. He wouldn't teach me but just pick up on little things. Kicking is about the upper body and the turn of your shoulder so nowadays Duncan (Hodge) realises what it is I'm doing wrong when he watches so he can give me reminders.'

Hodge was also responsible for taking kicks in his days as Scotland stand-off, and now performs the role of kicking coach with the national squad. Given the 100% success records of Paterson and Parks in this tournament so far, he is understandably a happy man.

He said: 'They've both kicked brilliantly so far, so it's great. These guys know exactly what they're doing, so it's not really about me changing things. They know their games well enough at this stage in their careers, so it's more a case of me helping when they need it.'

Parks admits that although he feels kicking has always been a strong part of his game, goal-kicking is about confidence. That's something that the squad hope to take into Sunday's match against the Pumas at the Stade de France, and pull off their best performance of the tournament so far.

He said: 'I think we've haven't shown too much at this stage - at times we've shown enterprising stuff but with the weather in the Italy game, we didn't have a chance to do so, so we're looking forward to that this weekend.

'As players we would have liked to have played a bit more rugby. Going back to the Portugal game, we played some nice rugby, but since then not so much. So it would be nice to get in the position this weekend to play rugby. You play what's in front of you and the weather obviously changes things.

"I'm pleased the way things are going, although New Zealand was a bit of a setback but I think they're the strongest side in the competition. The game against Portugal was pretty awesome, I had a pretty solid game against Romania and was relieved after the Italy result. Hopefully I'll have a chance again this weekend.'

Parks scored in the last match between Argentina and Scotland at Murrayfield in November 2005, when the Scots lost narrowly 19-23 to a controversial late penalty try.

"I really enjoyed the game back then. It was one of those games I couldn't believe we'd lost," he recalled. "It was an interesting encounter in that we were always in control but in the end we lost. They just had that never say die attitude. They are tough to play against.

"Their stand off Hernadez has been playing well. He's not had much chance to play at 10 with his club and he wanted to get in there so all credit to him for doing so. You watch the way he strikes the ball, especially on the drop-kick, and it's very smooth. The game is about position and territory and once they're in position, they stay there until they score."

Parks remains upbeat and enthusiastic ahead of the quarter-final. 'My first world cup has been pretty awesome. We were lucky to be in St Etienne and treated really well. Just the people in the streets too were great. It was amazing to get such fantastic support in St Etienne but that was the beauty of playing two games there. Hopefully the crowd will get behind us here in Paris as well on Sunday.'

Paterson, playing in his third World Cup, remains typically unflustered by the growing ballyhoo surrounding his goal-kicking prowess.

Leaving the Geoffroy Guichard Stadium on Saturday night, Italian media, one suspected only half in jest, pleaded with Paterson: "Please go and miss a penalty when you play against us."

Ever modest, the man 'with the most lethal right boot in world rugby' (as he' been dubbed in the UK press) replied: 'Eh, sorry about that!'