Will Hadleigh Parkes Move to Japan?

In recent days, there have been various speculations about possible transfers in the rugby world.

The latest rugby updates are all about the Wales centre, Hadleigh Parkes, and his intentions to change the team for the upcoming season.

Namely, Parkes has an offer to leave Scarlets from Wales and start playing for Panasonic Wild Knights in Japan. However, Parkes’s international career in the Welsh national team could end with his transfer to Japan due to the Welsh Rugby Union’s selection rules.

Parkes’s history with Wales

Hadleigh Parkes, the New Zealand-born rugby player, came to Wales to join Scarlets in 2014. After entering the club, he made it to the Welsh national team in 2017, based on the three years residence criteria. Since then, Parkes has won 29 caps for Wales.

However, as Parkes’ contract is about to expire at the end of this season, he has been negotiating a new deal with Scarlets and the Welsh Rugby Union. The organisation in charge of players’ contracts and salaries is the Professional Rugby Board.

Namely, the Board had set the pay band system, based on which they get their salary, for all professional players in the country.

It seems that this system does not meet Parkes’s expectations anymore and that the team from Japan has put more money on the table. Also, Parkes has been offered a one-year contract with Scarlets, while Panasonic Wild Knights show interest in employing him on a longer-term.

Parkes’ transfer to affect his spot in the national team

Even though showing interest in changing the club, Parkes didn’t mean to leave the Welsh national team. However, the Welsh Rugby Union has strict selection rules when it comes to players’ entitlement to represent the country.

One of the rules states that a player employed by a club outside Wales and under 60 caps is not eligible to represent the Welsh national team. Of course, exceptions to this rule have been made in the past, but unfortunately, that won’t be possible in Parkes’s case.

On the other hand, the transfer will profoundly affect Wales, as its national team will be left without one of the most influential players. Additionally, the injured Lions centre, Jonathan Davies, might also remain out of the picture, thus creating a problem for Wales head coach, Wayne Pivac.

The advantages of the transfer

Despite the fact of probably falling out of the Welsh national team, Parkes has many other reasons to look forward to this transfer. If Panasonic Wild Knights indeed offer more money, Parkes won’t hesitate to take a step towards a brighter future for his family.

Along with more profit, playing in Japan will bring Parkes an amazing experience of meeting and sharing the pitch with some of the top-rated players like Sam Whitelock and David Pocock.

Moreover, as Damian de Allende, who is currently playing for the Japanese team, wants to say farewell, it appears that the centre position in Japan will be entirely open for Parkes.

As it is often the case, Parkes’s aims to eventually return to his home country, and this deal with Panasonic Wild Knights could take him a step closer to his ultimate goal.


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