Rugby World Cup 2019: Hadleigh Parkes’ journey from bar room World Cup watcher to All Blacks rival

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Hadleigh Parkes is expected to star for Wales at the Rugby World Cup – four years after watching the tournament in a Cardiff bar.

ALEX DAVIDSON/GETTY IMAGES

Hadleigh Parkes is expected to star for Wales at the Rugby World Cup – four years after watching the tournament in a Cardiff bar.

Four years ago, Kiwi midfield back Hadleigh Parkes was watching the Rugby World Cup with a beer in his hand in a Cardiff pub.

Now, the 31-year-old is expected to be a key figure in Warren Gatland’s Wales team, who loom as a genuine rival to the All Blacks.

“I never once thought that I would get to a Rugby World Cup, so I want to put my best foot forward to achieve that,” Parkes toldWales Online.

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The Manawatū man recalled watching Wales beat England in the 2015 Rugby World Cup from a seat in a pub on Cardiff’s Dumballs Road.

Wales' midfield back Hadleigh Parkes, left, tackles Australia's Bernard Foley during a test in Cardiff last year.

MICHAEL STEELE

Wales’ midfield back Hadleigh Parkes, left, tackles Australia’s Bernard Foley during a test in Cardiff last year.

“When Lloyd Williams gave the inside kick for Gareth Davies was pretty impressive.”

“Having only been in the country a year, there could be no greater display of what the result of a rugby match can do to the mood of a nation.

“If you c

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