Dan Parks aims to keep starting place for Scotland

Dan Parks
Parks lost his Scotland starting place at the end of the Six Nations

Dan Parks hopes to mastermind a victory for Scotland against Italy on Saturday to ensure his place in the World Cup squad and reclaim his starting spot.

He makes his first start at fly-half since February's defeat by Wales.

"I had a long run there for a while and was on the bench for the last couple of games in the Six Nations, which was obviously disappointing," said Parks.

"I've had a good pre-season and I'm ready and raring to go and hopefully things will go well this weekend."

Glasgow's Ruaridh Jackson was given the number 10 shirt in this month's other warm-up match, an unconvincing 10-6 win over Ireland.

But now Parks is out to secure his place in head coach Andy Robinson's 30-man World Cup squad, which will be named on Monday.

Parks was initially overlooked by Robinson but forced his way back into the international fold and began 11 successive Tests before being omitted midway through the Six Nations as Scotland attempted to utilise Jackson's more expansive game.

However, Jackson has yet to shine in the blue of Scotland and Parks could travel to New Zealand as first-choice with a strong display against the Azzurri.

"You're always trying to improve your game in every aspect," said Parks.

"I'll be looking to play in the right areas, put the forwards on the front foot and hopefully, if we can do that, it will be a good day.

"It's about myself but also about bringing other guys into the game as well - trying to get the backline flowing and moving the ball to our danger men out wide.

"We'll be trying to bring a brand of rugby we're looking to play in New Zealand."

Parks and Jackson are the two specialist stand-offs in Scotland's 38-man provisional World Cup squad, while Chris Paterson and Greig Laidlaw offer cover for the position, but the duo are both absent this weekend.

Parks is almost certain to travel, but the 33-year-old is refusing to be complacent about his hopes of making the cut, with eight players set to miss out.

"There's no guarantees about who's going to be in that 30," he added.

"It's about pressing for selection to get on there. You've got to play well this weekend in order to get there.

"I was lucky enough to go to France in 2007 and it was the best sporting occasion I've had in my life.

"I'd love an opportunity to go this time. With New Zealand being such a strong force in world rugby, I think it will be a truly special occasion."