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Scarlets centre Parkes stars in Wales win

Charlie Bennett

2 Dec 2017

Hadleigh Parkes made an immediate impact on his Wales debut by scoring two tries to inspire Warren Gatland’s men to a narrow 24-22 victory against South Africa.

The Scarlets centre was the star of the show at the Principality Stadium while clubmate Leigh Halfpenny hit the winning penalty to secure a third straight home win against the Springboks.

In the first half it was all about Parkes, who scored two in quick succession after Scott Williams crossed early for the home side.

Ospreys fly-half Dan Biggar supplied the perfect grubber kick for the centre to grab his first while Taulupe Faletau zipped a pass out wide to him to dot down a second.

“It’s been amazing. A dream come true. It is a privilege to play in this stadium in front of a fantastic crowd,” Parkes said.

“To score a double on your debut is very special so I’m very happy.”

South Africa, who had Toyota Cheetahs star Francois Venter starting at inside centre, hit back hard after the break and took the lead through tries from Warrick Gelant, Handre Pollard and Jessie Kriel.

But Halfpenny kept his nerve to successfully hit a late penalty and get the win to give Wales a major boost in their final match before the start of next year’s Six Nations.

“It was important for us. We deserved it and it was nice to finish the autumn on a win,” said Wales head coach Gatland.

“Some of the stuff we created early on could’ve taken the game out of sight in our favour but decisions we made in the second half nearly killed us.

“We need to create depth and play in certain ways against certain teams. Given the injuries we’ve had, I’m happy we’ve started developing that depth.”

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