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All Blacks prospect Pari Pari Parkinson ruled out for 12 months

By Alex McLeod
(Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

Highlanders star and All Blacks prospect Pari Pari Parkinson has been dealt a significant blow after suffering a serious knee injury that will keep him sidelined for an entire year.

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Parkinson left the field in pain after Tasman teammate Anton Segner collided into him while tackling Wellington midfielder Peter Umaga-Jensen during last weekend’s NPC clash in Blenheim.

The Highlanders announced on Friday that Parkinson subsequently sustained a “multi-ligament rupture” to his right knee and will miss the entirety of next year’s Super Rugby Pacific campaign and most, if not all, of the NPC in 2022.

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The diagnosis is a cruel one for Parkinson, who has been tipped as a potential All Blacks candidate for some time now due to his enormous 2.04m, 119kg frame.

It also serves as familiar yet unwelcome news for the Highlanders, who have already dealt with or are currently dealing with similarly serious knee injuries to fullback Sam Gilbert, halfback Folau Fakatava and wing Jona Nareki.

A formidable presence at the lineout, a rugged defender and an aggressive ball-carrier, Parkinson, who signed a one-year contract extension with the Highlanders in March, will be a sorely missed at the Dunedin-based franchise next year.

Assistant coach Clarke Dermody empathised with the 25-year-old lock, who is a Maori All Blacks representative, after hearing about his latest injury, which comes after he recovered from a serious ankle injury earlier this year.

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“I feel for Pari, he has worked hard to get into good shape after a couple of injury setbacks recently, his form for Tasman has been outstanding and he certainly looked set for a big season with us,” Dermody said in a statement.

“We will work closely with him during his rehab and make sure he comes back strong and ready to go in 2023.”

With Josh Dickson, Bryn Evans and Manaaki Selby-Rickit already in their ranks for next season, the Highlanders will begin their search for a player to replace Parkinson.

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finn 8 hours ago
Why the world needs a reverse Lions tour

I think there’s a lot of reasons this wouldn’t work, but if we’re just proposing fun things how about a “World Series” held the june/july following a world cup. The teams competing each four years would be: the current world champions The Pacific Islands The British & Irish Lions The World XV Barbarians FC to ensure all teams are fairly evenly matched, the current world champions would name their squad first; then The Pacific Islands would name next, and would be able to select any pacific qualified players not selected by the world champions, including players already “captured” by non-pacific nations who would otherwise have been eligible for selection (eg. Bundee Aki); the Lions would select next; and then The World XV and Barbarians FC would be left to fight over anyone not selected. Some people will point out that 5 teams is too many for a mid-year round robin, particularly as it would be nice to have a final as well; and they would be right! But because we’re just having fun here we’re going to innovate an entirely new format for rugby, where the round robin is played in one stadium over the course of one day, with each game lasting just 40 minutes with no half time or change of ends. The round robin decides the seedings for the knockouts, which are contested by all 5 teams in one stadium over the course of one day, according to the following schedule: Knockout Round 1: seed 5 v seed 4 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Quarter Final: winner of Round 1 v seed 3 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Semi Final: winner of Quarter Final v seed 2 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Final: winner of Semi Final v seed 1 (played as a standard 80 minute rugby match) for the round robin, teams would name a 15 man starting lineup and a 16 man bench. Substitutions during games can only be made for injuries, but any number of substitutions can be made between games. The same rules apply for the finals, except that we return to having a regular 8 man bench, and would allow substitutions as normal during the 80 minute final.

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