Hadleigh Parkes, the New Zealand-born midfielder that has made a name for himself on the international scene for Wales, is set to retire from the international game.
Initial reports indicated that Parkes would be heading to Japan and taking up a contract with Kobelco Steelers. The latest news, courtesy of The Daily Mail, suggests that the Panasonic Wild Knights are a more likely final destination for the 32-year-old.
Despite only debuting at 30 years old, Parkes was one of Warren Gatland’s most regularly selected players over the last World Cup cycle and has since maintained favour with new coach Wayne Pivac.
Parkes played in six of Wales’ seven World Cup matches in 2019, only sitting out the bronze final, and has accumulated 29 caps for his adopted nation since his debut against South Africa.
The robust midfielder also started in all four of Wales’ Six Nations matches this year and was named to start in the Red Dragons’ final match with England, which was subsequently called off due to coronavirus.
Although the Manawatu-born back is still earning ample game time for Wales and has been offered a one-year extension with the Dragons, the reporting out of the UK suggests that Parkes is looking to finish up his career and earn a handy pay packet in Japan.
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The Wild Knights will be without South African Damian de Allende for 2021 and beyond, leaving a gap in Robbie Deans’ side’s midfield.
32-year-old Jonathan Davies is currently out injured and could also call time on his rugby-playing career in the near future which leaves Wales desperately lacking experience in the midfield.
His importance to Pivac’s Wales squad could increase significantly in these anticipated departures come to pass.
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