TOKYO (AFP) – England lock George Kruis and Welsh centre Hadleigh Parkes have signed to play for Panasonic Wild Knights in next year’s Japanese Top League, the club announced yesterday.
Kruis, capped 45 times for his country and once for the British and Irish Lions, featured at last year’s World Cup but coach Eddie Jones mainly used the 30-year-old as a substitute in England’s run to the final.
New Zealand-born Parkes, 32, was an ever-present for the Welsh side that lost in the semi-finals to eventual champions South Africa.
For the Scarlets player, the decision effectively means an end to his international career and he told the BBC that moving to Japan “certainly wasn’t a quick or easy decision”.
“But when you have to weigh up your family’s future, it is an incredible opportunity for us and we are really excited about what lies ahead,” said Parkes in his BBC online column.Welsh rules mean someone playing outside Wales can only be selected for the national team if he has 60 caps or is uncapped. Parkes has 29.
Kruis, on the other hand, refused to see his move from Saracens to Japan as calling time on his international career.
England can select players from overseas clubs in “exceptional circumstances”, and he also remains in contention for next year’s Lions tour of South Africa.
“I would like to think there is plenty left in the legs and this is definitely not an England retirement,” Kruis told British media.
Saracens have also been relegated to England’s second division following a points deduction for salary cap breaches.
“It is hard to overstate what George has given to the club,” Saracens Director of Rugby Mark McCall said in a statement.