Sunwolves flyhalf Hayden Parker has cemented himself as New Zealand’s best goal kicker over the last two seasons with a record streak of 38 consecutive goal kicks followed by another run of 32 consecutive goal kicks. His astounding 97.4% success rate over the last two years at Super Rugby level makes him the most accurate goal kicker in the world.
There’s a reason why Hayden Parker has converted 70 of his past 71 kicks for the Sunwolves.
Check this out…pic.twitter.com/LJlAJGOtZ3
— TheRugbyPaper (@TheRugbyPaper) March 29, 2019
The local Otago product came through the Highlanders system but found his road blocked by Colin Slade and then Lima Sopoaga, spending most of the time as a back-up over a five year period. Unable to get regular game time, Parker moved to the Japan Top League on a short-term deal, before the former Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph picked up Parker for the Sunwolves in 2017.
Despite notching 50 caps for the Sunwolves, he has only made 8 appearances in the Top League and appeared just once in 2018 for his new team Kobe Steelers as Dan Carter took over the starting duties. With the Sunwolves set to be axed from 2020, is Parker going to be the most sought after player?
What's a 90%+ kicker worth in northern hemisphere rugby? Would be very surprised if Hayden Parker doesn't sign with someone before the end of Super Rugby.
— Karl (@NaRuagairi) March 30, 2019
The @SouthernKingsSA should splash some of their new cash and sign Hayden Parker
— Jared Wright (@jaredwright17) March 29, 2019
Hayden Parker is the best kicker in rugby history. There, I’ve said it! #WARvSUN
— Ollie Silverton (@olliegs64) March 29, 2019
Hayden Parker is the best kicker in the world. Ever.
DC, Wilko, Mehrts, Ronan, Morne, Percy and even our Leigh and Jenks. He’s got them all.
Got it on a string ?????? #WARvSUN
— Lloyd Jones (@LloydJones1882) March 29, 2019
Hayden Parker’s schedule has some holes in it now, I wonder what his plans are for next year
— Andrew Brogan (@AndrewBrogan) March 29, 2019
not be dramatic, but if you're watching Hayden Parker play today, you're probably witnessing the best kicking performance in all of rugby history pic.twitter.com/I7lfpgmWbC
— meanderthal (@HonkyDaFonky) March 29, 2019
The 28-years-old Kiwi is on a path to become eligible for the Japan national side under World Rugby’s residency laws but with his growing reputation as the world’s best kicker, you would think cashed-up clubs will come calling, particularly in the Premiership where the threat of relegation can turn late-season games into goal-kicking shootouts.
A few corners in New Zealand have also called on Parker to return home, with goal kicking being somewhat of a thorn in the side of New Zealand flyhalves recently. There are potentially three New Zealand franchises that do not have an established flyhalf that could use Parker, including his former hometown team the Highlanders who said goodbye to Lima Sopoaga last year.
Where he eventually lands is unknown but one thing is for sure, whoever signs Parker is going to have to pay more than they would have 12-months ago, which could rule out a return home to New Zealand.
Jake Gordon re-signs with Rugby Australia:
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