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Gatland pleased with Parkes impact in Springboks win

By Jack Davies
Wales coach Warren Gatland while in charge of the British and Irish Lions

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Wales coach Warren Gatland was delighted with the impact made by Hadleigh Parkes after the Scarlets centre scored two tries on debut against South Africa.

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The New Zealand-born Scarlets man only became eligible to represent his adopted country on Saturday, but made an instant impression, crossing twice in an impressive first-half performance from the home side.

And Gatland was satisfied that the 30-year-old had grasped his chance to impress in a Wales shirt.

“I said just make the most of the opportunity and he did that,” Gatland said after the 24-22 win.

“He carried well, defended well. He’s an experienced player.

“We knew where he’d come from and, even though it was his first cap, I said he needed to have some leadership out there in terms of taking control.

“He’s got a lot of rugby under his belt and he’s familiar with a lot of those Scarlets players that were out there.

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“He’s done great. A fantastic pick-up for the first try and a brilliant pass from Taulupe [Faletau] for the second.

“He’s carried a couple of nice little kicks through.

“He’s ‘100 per cent’, he was saying in the changing rooms, so he’s pretty happy with himself.”

Wales opened up a 21-3 lead over the visitors, with Scott Williams also going over, but were left clinging on to victory – their third in a row at home to the Springboks – by full-time.

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“There’s a bit of relief,” added Gatland. “We started so well and looked comfortable.

“Then five minutes before half-time and five minutes after half-time weren’t the best period of the game for us.

“I think we deserved that and we’re pleased with lots of things.

“Given the injuries that we’ve had and the young players that we’ve blooded, there’s lots of things that we can take out of this campaign in terms of developing some depth in the squad.

“It was pretty nailbiting but that’s what sport’s about. I’m pleased we came out on the right side.”

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