What Jonathan Davies offers in attack, his international midfield partner compliments equally without possession. The highest rated defender in the tournament with a crushingly dominant 99, the exciting centre’s dotted all around Europe will need to be on serious form to break down man mountain Parkes.
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If Hadleigh can find a way to even match last years performance, the Welsh will be in with a shout of sending Gatland on his way with a Grand Slam. A 91% tackle success rate was only matched by Irish counterpart Bundee Aki, however, Parkes had a lot more traffic coming his way, with 53 attacks successfully defended, the most in the tournament for centres, to Aki’s 40.
In great form, his card represents the value the 6’1” midfielder offers, and after a fine season for Scarlets, there are many reasons to include him in your team for Round One. Whilst attacking isn’t his apparent strong suite, one try, two assists, and 190 metres makes him comfortably a top 10 attacking option, and despite being outscored by Allan, Stockdale and Farrell, Parkes faired better than Huw Jones, Bundee Aki, Stuart Hogg and Keith Earles in points scored. Nobody offers better value in attack with the same rate of guaranteed success in defence. You could say making the decision to choose Hadleigh as a starter in Round 1 is as easy as a walk in the park. Not how opposing attackers feel when they run into him!
The Welshman shows immaculate discipline in an area of the field where it is often all too easy to give away penalties and yellow card for cynical fouls to halt opposition pressure. An immaculate zero trips to the bin in 2018, and the most inform 12 heading into the tournament. Parkes is a man guaranteed to produce the goods in this years fantasy, if he isn’t in your squad by the time you’ve finished this sentence, you can’t say we didn’t warn you!