Parks' Good Life at Leeds

South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales), April 23, 2005 | Go to article overview
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Parks' Good Life at Leeds

Byline: By Gareth Griffiths South Wales Echo

From regional redundancy to cup winner.

That is the journey former Celtic Warrior Richard Parks has made in the last 10 months.

After being left on the scrapheap of Welsh rugby by the unceremonious culling of the Warriors last summer, Parks struggled to find a home among the other four regions.

The Wales flanker was rescued by fellow countryman Phil Davies and given a chance with Leeds in the Zurich Premiership.

And Parks' journey north has been rewarded after the 27-year-old helped Leeds to Powergen Cup glory against Bath last weekend.

'I am very happy up here and I have no immediate plans to return home,' said Parks, who penned a new two-year contract this week. 'Leeds is a fantastic place to play rugby.

'It has got similar attributes to Pontypridd with no stars and the work ethic. I had a difficult start with a groin problem I could not shake off.

'Since the turn of the year I have been happy with my form in my favoured flanker position.'

Parks is enjoying life in his favoured openside position after being asked to fill in at No.8 for the Warriors.

It was in this position that Parks produced a man-of-the-match performance in the Warriors famous Heineken Cup victory against Lawrence Dallaglio and Wasps.

But not even performances of this magnitude could persuade the Welsh regions to take on Parks

'The situation I was in last summer to now is a million miles away,' said Parks.

'It was one of the lowest points in my life and I was bitter that we had been sold out two years in a row after my experiences with Pontypridd the following season.

'It has happened in other walks of life like the miners and the steelworkers where their jobs have been taken away from them.

'I was disappointed because I felt I was not far from the national team and did not get the feedback from the Welsh regions.

'I was training during the early summer not really knowing where I was going.

'I had some interest from Llanelli and one other Welsh province but I have a lot to be grateful for Leeds giving me a chance.

'Phil Davies came in for me and was true to his word when other people were saying one thing but not backing it up.

'He was true to his word and gave me an opportunity to play top-class rugby.'

And Parks has been involved in a dramatic change in fortunes in the last couple of weeks which has seen the relegation-threatened side defeat Leicester and Gloucester and clinch their famous cup triumph over Bath.

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