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the Atmosphere Will Be Electric – Parker

the Atmosphere Will Be Electric – Parker

Sonny Parker was born to do the haka, but will find himself singing a foreign language when he opposes New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

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New Zealand-born Parker starts at inside centre in Steve Hansen’s Wales team to take on the All Blacks on Saturday, and he admits he won’t know whether to laugh or cry before the game.

‘It will be weird when I hear the anthems,’ the 25-year-old admitted.

‘I won’t be singing but I’ll have mixed emotions when I hear ‘God Defend New Zealand’.’

Once the anthems are over Parker then has to endure watching 15 of his compatriots performing the haka.

‘I’m actually looking forward to it,’ said Parker. ‘It will be an exciting and strange experience. A lot of people get intimidated by it, but I’ve been brought up watching it so it won’t really bother me.

‘To be perfectly honest it will motivate me and gee me up for the game even more.’

Parker is an unknown quantity to most New Zealanders back in his homeland,

although he is good friends with a couple of the All Blacks.

‘I know Doug Howlett very well,’ said Parker.

‘He was head boy at my school in Auckland and we played in the same team at school. I’m looking forward to meeting up with him … after the game.’

The Pontypridd centre qualifies to play for Wales on residency grounds, and he has no regrets about making the decision.

He said: ‘I don’t regret choosing to play for Wales.

‘Every time I pull on the red jersey it’s a huge honour. It’s going to be great on Saturday and the atmosphere will be electric.’

Parker also had a word of warning for his new teammates ahead of Saturday’s game.

‘A lot of people are saying that this is a weakened All Blacks team. That’s absolute rubbish. Any team that pulls on the black jersey are sure to be a good team – just ask England.

‘If we play like we did against Canada then we’ll have problems. The team know it wasn’t an outstanding performance.’

Parker was brought to Wales by former national coach Graham Henry, but it is another New Zealander who is helping to develop his game.

‘Steve Hansen is a huge help,’ said Parker.

‘He’s helped my game hugely. It’s going to take time to learn how to play inside centre but having Steve – who has played that position himself – giving me advice is a bonus.’

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