Parker looking forward to getting on field for Sunwolves

Hayden Parker
Hayden Parker
Hayden Parker just wants to get back on the field and may have headed overseas regardless of the injuries that have plagued his career.

Parker was announced this week as one of four former Highlanders in the Sunwolves side to play in next season’s Super Rugby competition.

Just over four years ago, Parker teamed up with halfback Fumiaki Tanaka as the Otago inside back pairing, when the blue and golds won the Ranfurly Shield.

Next year, the duo, along with the coach of the Otago side that night, Tony Brown, will be part of the Sunwolves set-up.

Parker said with nothing on the horizon for next season — he missed out on the Highlanders — the Sunwolves had got in touch through his agent and he took up the offer.

"I had a bit of a decision to make. Should I stay or should I go? But in the end I decided to go over. I have just signed the one-year contract," he said.

"I do like it up there. They are friendly people, it’s a nice place and they really look after you.

"They like to throw the ball around a bit and that I think suits my game. But I need to just get back on the field and play."

Parker (27) has had a terrible run with injuries and has missed the bulk of the past couple of seasons because of knee injuries. He missed most of the 2015 season because of a shoulder injury.

The Sunwolves are coached by former Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph, who will be assisted by Brown. Joseph coaches the Japanese national team with Brown.

Parker said the injuries had obviously been frustrating but he was looking forward to getting over to Japan and starting training.

"Jamie tends to get the best out of players. Here it is pretty tough. You’ve got Lima [Sopoaga] there and I’m sitting behind him.

"I’ve been doing that for a few years and I may have looked to go elsewhere even if I hadn’t been injured. I probably would have played a bit more last season if I hadn’t been injured."

What team he will play for after his season with the Sunwolves is still up in the air.Parker will be based in Tokyo and pre-season training will start on January 15. His partner, Renaye Flockton, badly injured her leg at a sevens tournament last month so the couple have had their share of injury woes.

Brown and Joseph will be assisted at the Sunwolves by former Canterbury halfback Scott Hansen, who is the defence coach.

Also joining the Sunwolves are Otago prop Craig Millar and former Southland fullback Robbie Robinson.

The Sunwolves do not play the Highlanders this season. 

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