Parsons proud of Harbour’s success
North Harbour captain James Parsons says the success the province is having is worth more to him than any big overseas contract.
The 30-year-old hooker has come to the point in his career when most players in his situation look for a big payday in Europe or Japan, but Parsons says he’s not interested in any move and his heart remains at Harbour.
He showed how much of a valuable asset he is on Thursday night, helping the province win their fourth straight game of the season, with a 28-17 victory over Counties Manukau in Pukekohe.
‘‘I couldn’t be happier,’’ Parsons said. ‘‘Everyone always says to me why haven’t I gone overseas, but it’s because of this.
‘‘This is what I wanted to do, I wanted to turn Harbour around.
‘‘I came to Harbour when we had the Shield, we were in the top division and I was a young fellah. That’s what I grew up thriving to be in.
‘‘Obviously, we’ve had our lows, but to still play a part, get us back to the Premiership and now holding our own is special. This is something I’ll hold more dearly to me than other opportunities out there.’’
Having won promotion from the Championship last season, few would have predicted Harbour to be undefeated after four games in the top flight, but they boast attributes not many other provinces have, experience and depth.
‘‘I wouldn’t say it’s been easy, but (coaches) Tom Coventry and Dan Halangahu have got us working our arses off,’’ Parsons said.
‘‘It shows if you work hard you get the rewards. The win (over Counties) wasn’t pretty and I don’t think we played very well, especially up front and number one to five were pretty disappointed with the platform we set at scrum-time.
‘‘Coming off the back of the Auckland game, we didn’t do the work because of the short turnaround.
‘‘But we came back well in the second half and that’s probably what got us home.’’
Harbour’s 57-10 win over Auckland on September 3 at QBE Stadium raised plenty of eyebrows in rugby circles but the focus
‘‘Everyone always says to me why haven't I gone overseas, but it's because of this.’’
North Harbour captain James Parsons
was on how bad Auckland were, rather than on the impressive performance from Harbour.
The Battle of the Bridge is always one of the biggest games of the season for the two provinces and to win like Harbour did could be seen as something that’s already made this season a success.
But Parsons says the players didn’t get carried away with that result and were able to move on.
‘‘We cherished that moment but we’ve got some good leaders, great coaches and we switched onto Counties really quickly.
‘‘We don’t want to be one-week wonders, we don’t want to rest on winning the Battle of the Bridge.
‘‘We want to hold our own in the Premiership, so far so good, but Northland are firing on all guns and we’ve got a week’s turnaround before that game, but we’ll be making sure we front up for that.’’
James Parsons went through the tough times at North Harbour before their current success.