Almost two weeks after his exit from Scarlets was confirmed, Hadleigh Parkes’ new club has been announced. The 32-year-old was one of eight players confirmed to leave the Welsh side in a recent statement, and was linked with a move to the Japanese Top League. Scarlets have now confirmed that Parkes will join Japanese side Panasonic Wild Knights.
Parkes was Scarlets player of the season in 2015-16 after playing every minute of every Guinness PRO12, and was a Pro12 title winner in 2017.
He qualified for Wales on residency and memorably scored two tries in a debut a victory over the Springboks in December 2017. His international career is now expected to be over.
Scarlets announced that “Hadleigh will return to New Zealand with his wife Suzy and daughter Ruby before heading to the land of the rising sun.”
“It has been an incredible six seasons,” Parkes said.
“We have loved every moment of it both on and off the rugby field. We have made lifelong friends who have become like family to us.
“I have loved playing in front of the Scarlets faithful week in and week out. It is such a great club and winning the PRO12 title in 2017 was huge and great reward for all our loyal supporters.
“The Scarlets supporters have been amazing and some of the big European away trips have felt like home matches thanks to them following the team in their thousands. They are a proud bunch and I have loved being a Scarlet.
“As a family we have made the hard rugby decision to leave the country we have fallen in love with and to head to Japan where a new adventure awaits.
“It certainly wasn’t a quick or easy decision but when you have to weigh up your family’s future, it is an incredible opportunity for us and we are really excited about what lies ahead.
“As we get ready to leave Wales we would like to thank everyone that has played a part in our time here. Supporters, team-mates, management and all our friends have made our time here so special. It will be hard leaving.
“I would also like to thank Suzy for her continued support and for allowing me to follow my rugby dream — I’m excited about our next chapter.”
Scarlets general manager of rugby Jon Daniels said: “Hadleigh has been a fantastic servant to the Scarlets since arriving from New Zealand six years ago.
“He has played more than 120 matches for the club, was part of our title-winning side and has been a superb professional and role model.
Panasonic Wild Knights have today announced the signing of Scarlets & Wales centre Hadleigh Parkes. Hadleigh has been a fantastic servant to the Scarlets in the six years he has been here. We wish him, Suzy and Ruby well for the move to Japan ??
— Scarlets Rugby (@scarlets_rugby) May 25, 2020
“We wish him, Suzy and Ruby well for the move to Japan.”
Parkes is not the only player swapping the UK for Japan.
Earlier on Monday, it was confirmed that long-serving Saracen George Kruis will also join the Panasonic Wild Knights.
Kruis leaves Saracens after 12 years, during which time he made 184 first-team appearances.
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