Parkes aiming to 'ruin the morning' for partying Boks fans

Centre who scored two tries against South Africa on his Wales debut wants to douse the spirits of those watching around a traditional braai.

TOKYO, 24 Oct - Hadleigh Parkes wants to renew his midfield partnership with Jonathan Davies to beat the Springboks - and wreck their fans' early morning barbecue parties.

Parkes, who sampled the traditional slap-up braai (barbecue) when he spent four months in South Africa, is hopeful that fellow Wales centre Davies will be fit for Sunday's semi-final showdown in Yokohama after pulling out of the last-eight win over France with a knee injury.

And it would be even better for Parkes, pictured after scoring against Australia, if he could repeat the two tries he scored on his Wales debut in a victory over the Springboks just two years ago.

He played club rugby for the Southern Kings and knows that Boks fans will be partying as they watch the match on Saturday morning.

"I was staying around Port Elizabeth but I got injured so got to see the other side of South Africa a bit," said Parkes. "I was there for 16 weeks - I had a helluva tan, I can tell you that. I did lots of safaris.

"For the big games it's almost like the tail-gating they have in the NFL. Durban is renowned for that. There are a couple of rugby fields out the back where they make braais and offer you brandy and cokes, beers and all that stuff.

"It would be nice to ruin their morning."

Should he taste victory, it would send Wales into the World Cup final for the first time - and he would love to do it with Davies beside him.

Davies is battling to be fit after missing two games because of the knee injury suffered in setting-up a crucial try in the 29-17 Pool D win over Fiji.

The 31-year-old, a team-mate of Parkes at Scarlets, was named in the side for the quarter-final against France but pulled out at the last minute after realising he was not quite fit enough for such an important game.

"It was a tough decision for Jon to make," said Parkes. "As much as you want to play, and get out there and say you're OK, to be able to turn round and say 'No, I'm not, actually' was pretty big of him to put the team first.

"He's very important for Wales and for the (British) Lions. Jonathan has had a couple of very successful tours. He's a good leader within the side.

"In attack he's got a good voice and a hell of a fend. He set up a nice try against Fiji, and he's a left-foot kicking option.

"Defence is what he's renowned for and in reading those plays out the back he's made a lot of crucial tackles. He's a big part of this squad and I know he and the medical staff are doing all they can. They are helping him hugely."

Parkes was hugely impressed with fellow centre Owen Watkin who stepped in for Davies against the French.

"Owen did really well, is a young boy, and has a big future," he said. "But Foxy (Davies) has been around a bit longer and I know him a bit better because I've played with him at club level and with Wales." 

Parkes is relishing the prospect of playing in a World Cup semi-final but believes Wales will have to improve on their display in the 20-19 win over France.

"Last week we were probably a bit disappointed with the way we played, but we got the job done. Now we’re in the semi-final, and it's not very often you get to play in the semi-final of a World Cup. The last time Wales reached that stage was in 2011.

"It’s a very special and exciting week. The Springboks are tough opposition. They are always up there in the top three in the world. 

"They are very big boys, a very powerful team, and they’ve got a lot of flair. They enjoy that physical part of the game but it’s a part of our game we like to bring as well."

RNS ig/rm