From black tape to All Blacks for Germany’s kicking king?

Germany’s Raynor Parkinson hopes to emulate his alter ego and put Canada to the sword in the Rugby World Cup 2019 Repechage on Saturday.

In years to come, the Legend of Zorro might be retold to rugby-mad kids the length and breadth of Germany, from Berlin to Bavaria and Dortmund to Dresden.

Qualification for RWC 2019 would be some story and, while that wouldn’t be down to one player, Raynor Parkinson’s name is likely to recur throughout the narrative.

Wearing a makeshift mask made up of black tape to conceal a badly cut cheekbone, Parkinson kicked three penalties and converted both of his side’s tries in a 26-9 win over top seeds Hong Kong that puts Germany two wins away from dreamland.

“The boys are calling me Zorro,” Germany’s fly-half said. “The reasoning behind the tape going all the way around my face was because the eye was swelling really quickly, and they needed to keep it compressed.”

Parkinson had missed a shot at goal, easy by his or anyone else’s standards, before receiving the blow to his face. But he was back to his usual self after some hasty treatment in the bowels of the Stade Delort n Marseille.

“Even though it's okay now, I was saying to the physios I might just have to wear it again! Hopefully, I can put over all the kicks that come my way on Saturday.”

Must-win clash

It would have had to take something more drastic than a few stitches to keep Parkinson out of the most important game of his seven-year international career: a “must-win” round two encounter against a Canadian side that began their repechage campaign in style with a 65-19 win over Kenya.

“It’s a game you want to be a part of. Every game in this competition is like a final, and we are treating them as such. Canada is must-win, as they all are,” the 30-year-old said.

The Frankfurt player admits Germany were guilty of trying to force the issue in the first half against Hong Kong, the sides locked at 6-6 until a dominant pack and Parkinson’s kicking out of hand and off the tee helped turn the tide their way.

“We went something like 13 phases direct from the kick-off with virtually every player touching the ball. I think the boys were really excited to get out there and tried to get over the line as quickly as possible. We made a few handling errors and I think that, maybe, we were trying a little bit too hard,” he admitted.

“But as soon as we got into the second half, we could see our forwards were wearing them down and that’s when Kurt (Haupt) broke through and scored a try for us. From then on, it was a matter of closing out the game.”

Record holder

South African-born Parkinson, a British passport holder, qualifies for Germany through his grandmother, who hails from Bielefeld. He made his debut against the Netherlands in 2011 and is Germany’s all-time leading points scorer with 310 from 31 internationals.

But the World Cup, and the prospect of playing the All Blacks and South Africa, two of the repechage winner’s opponents in waiting in Pool B at RWC 2019, has, until now, remained a distant dream.

“Like most people, you always dream of representing your country, especially at a World Cup, and if we were to achieve that, it would be a dream come true, not just for me but for everyone in the squad.”

Like the movie hero he’s been named after, Parkinson is determined to leave his mark.