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Black Rams sign ex-England and Wales international duo

By Ian Cameron
Nathan Hughes during his time as an England player /Getty

Japan Rugby League One side Ricoh Black Rams have signed a duo of heavy hitters in one fell swoop today.

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Both former England No.8 Nathan Hughes and ex-Wales centre Hadleigh Parkes will line up for the Tokyo-based side next season.

The Rams have also signed former Blues and New Zealand U20s second row Josh Goodhue for good measure.

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Parkes – who earned 29 caps for Wales between 2017 and 2020 – has already won a Japanese title with Saitama Wild Knights [formerly Panasonic] and is re-upping for another spin in the league, albeit with a different team.

The 34-year-old left Wales in 2020 and spent two seasons with the Knights and will move from Saitama to the Japanese capital this autumn.

“My family and I are very excited to have the opportunity to join the Ricoh BlackRams Tokyo,” Parkes told the club website.  “We have thoroughly enjoyed living in Japan and are looking forward to continuing immersing ourselves in the Japanese way of life. The BlackRams are a young and exciting team and I’m looking forward to playing my part in contributing to a successful season.”

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Meanwhile, Hughes has rejuvenated his career after a long spell on the sidelines with Pat Lam’s Bristol Bears in the Gallagher Premiership. An outstanding loan spell with Bath saw his stock rise dramatically, which led to a number of clubs in France targeting his signature.

However the 6’5, 125kg loose forward has prefered to cash in a lucrative deal in Japan.

Hughes said of the move on the club website that: ‘My move over from the UK, I’m filled with enthusiasm, motivation and I’m very focused. I can’t wait to meet my teammates, coaches, staff, fans and everyone else who are involved with the team. I’m ready to overcome new challenges and push myself further. I’m grateful for where I’ve been and what I’ve achieved but I’m excited for where I’m going. Japan is a new adventure.

Ricoh Black Rams finished 9th in last season’s competition.

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