This morning the Kiwi-born second five from the Scarlets region turned in a man of the match display as Wales cast aside Italy 38-14 in Cardiff. He scored a try on his back, almost added another that was ruled out by the TMO, made 11 tackles, ran for 56m and executed some probing, raking tactical kicks.
The only bum note was struck when his wing Steff Evans ran into him while trying to step the Azzurri defence.
Parkes’ old Blues (NZ) teammate Gareth Anscombe also acquitted himself well in the No 10 jersey in a rare start there for his adopted country. He kicked nine points, made 14 tackles in 60 minutes, did a nice chip and regather and made a compelling case to Warren Gatland to start there again against France this weekend.
In Paris, there was little joy for Fiji-born, Kelston BHS-educated England No 8 Nathan Hughes, who left the pitch with a knee injury after just 23 minutes of England’s 22-16 defeat to France. Centre Ben Te’o had his hands full with opposite Mathieu Bastareaud. He did make one long break but could not link up with his outsides.
Pau also heaped more misery on the faltering La Rochelle, who were flying high just weeks ago. Pau’s 18-15 home win featured a try and two goals from Colin Slade. His teammates included Daniel Ramsay, Jamie Mackintosh, Benson Stanley and Conrad Smith.
Montpellier’s Aaron Cruden would have enjoyed the crushing 41-3 victory over Racing-Metro, who had Joe Rokocoko, Anthony Tuitavake, Dan Carter, Ole Avei, Census Johnston and Ben Tameifuna in the ranks.
Oyonnax won a fine 26-20 result at Bordeaux-Begles, with Ben Botica’s six goals all-important. Quentin MacDonald scored a try, while Hika Elliot and Roimata Hansell-Pune were also involved. Ed Fidow scored a try and Simon Hickey kicked three goals for the home team.
James Wilson (12) and Paul Grant (20) turned out for the west country club, while the Saints fielded Piers Francis, Nafi Tuitavake, Ahsee Tuala, Michael Paterson and Teimana Harrison. The latter’s 100th game for the club ended with a red card.
Bath will face Exeter at Kingsholm on Sunday.
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