WELSH RUGBY’S NEW HERO

PARKES SHINES AS AU­TUMN SE­RIES ENDS ON A HIGH AGAINST ’BOKS

Wales On Sunday - - FRONT PAGE -

HADLEIGH Parkes said he felt hum­bled and hon­oured after scor­ing two tries in a “dream” de­but for Wales against South Africa. The New Zealand-born cen­tre made an im­me­di­ate im­pact just hours after com­plet­ing his three-year qual­i­fi­ca­tion pe­riod to be­come el­i­gi­ble to play for his adopted coun­try.

The 30-year-old former sheep farmer scored twice in the first half and was named man of the match as Wales com­pleted their au­tumn se­ries with a 24-22 win at Cardiff’s Prin­ci­pal­ity Sta­dium.

Parkes, who be­came the first player to score twice on his Wales de­but since Ge­orge North in 2010, said: “It’s been amaz­ing, a dream come true. I never thought this day would come and I’m just ex­tremely hum­bled by the op­por­tu­nity.

“It’s a huge priv­i­lege and an hon­our to come out here and play in front of a fan­tas­tic sta­dium and a fan­tas­tic crowd. It’s a lovely coun­try. You dream of these kinds of days, so I’m very happy.”

And coach War­ren Gat­land was de­lighted with Parkes’ bow even though Wales wob­bled when 21-3 ahead just be­fore half-time be­fore a Leigh Half­penny penalty put an end to the Spring­boks’ fightback.

“He has done great,” said Gat­land. “It was a fan­tas­tic pick-up for his first try and a bril­liant pass from Taulupe for the sec­ond one. He has done well. He has car­ried, he’s put a cou­ple of nice lit­tle kicks through. He’s a 100 per cent he was say­ing in the chang­ing room, so he’s pretty happy with him­self.

“Even though it was his first cap, we had said to him you need to have some lead­er­ship out there in terms of your voice and tak­ing con­trol.

“He has had a lot of rugby un­der his belt and he’s fa­mil­iar with a lot of those Scar­lets play­ers who were out there.

“We said just make the most of the op­por­tu­nity and he did that.”

Full re­ac­tion, plus views from Barry John and Graham Price: Sport pull­out

All smiles... Hadleigh Parkes can’t be­lieve it after scor­ing the first of his two tries on his Wales de­but against South Africa yes­ter­day PIC­TURE: Huw Evans Agency

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