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Wales Online
Wales Online
Katie Sands & Glen Williams

Today's rugby news as Wales international set for release despite taking team to stunning league title win

Here are the latest rugby headlines on Monday, May 30.

Parkes set for goodbye after title win

Former Wales star Hadleigh Parkes is set to bid farewell to his Japanese team despite helping them win the inaugural Japan Rugby League One title at the weekend.

Parkes, 34, started in the Wild Knights' 18-12 victory over Suntory Sungoliath in sweltering conditions at Japan’s National Stadium in Tokyo on Sunday. It adds to the evidence pile of Parkes being an unqualified success in Japan, helping to extend the Wild Knights’ run of wins to 32 when Covid-induced cancellations are not taken into account. He has gone unbeaten for two seasons in the country.

Read more: Released Welsh regional player links up with English side

But it seems that despite being such a pivotal part of his team, Parkes is set to see his time with Wild Knights come to an end, with the club strongly rumoured to have lined up Damian de Allende as a replacement at centre, with the South African poised to return to the club he played for before joining Munster in 2020.

Parkes looks likely to continue playing in Japan or head home to New Zealand to play in the National Provincial Championship, although a move back to Wales could not be totally ruled out.

Record number of Premiership players to be out of work

A record number of players will find themselves out of work at the end of this Gallagher Premiership season, according to a report by the Daily Mail.

The report cites that players are feeling the sharp end of English rugby's salary cap cuts as well as the cost of living crisis, meaning they are either facing unemployment or are on the search for new careers from next season. Clubs are having to cut millions of pounds off their wage bill to come under the new £5million cap which is being implemented. As things stand, there will be 70 players out of work next season, as opposed to 50 at the end of last year.

"The market is worse than it has ever been," former England scrum-half Joe Simpson, 33, told the Mail. "The club owners dictate their costs and with the salary cap cuts starting to bite, clubs are having to cut their squads by two or three players. "With no relegation, there's no fear factor from the bottom teams to pad out their squads. There's not a great market or demand, so I could be in a new career in a couple of months' time. I'll stay in shape over the next four months and if something came up that would be brilliant. I always knew the real world was coming at some point. I've got a diploma in economics. I feel like I've got three more seasons left in me but if I have to retire at 33 because there aren't the jobs or economy for it then I'll walk away with a fully functioning body and fond memories."

Northampton prop Nick Auterac, 29, outlined the brutal nature of the financial side of things, claiming players in the middle salary bracket are being "squeezed out" for clubs to adhere to the wage cap. "I was told in January that I wasn't going to be kept on," Auterac added "I want to keep playing but as things stand, I'm calling it a day. It's tough because at 29 I'm arguably coming into a prop's prime. Clubs are squeezing out the middle men. Some players are getting offered lower salaries and it's take it or leave it. A low-end first teamer is often on around £50k, which in the real world is awesome, but recently I've heard of boys being offered £25k. For a job where you get your head kicked in, ribs popped, broken knees and retire at 30, I'm not sure it's worth it."

Australia win the Sevens

Australia won the weekend's London Sevens at Twickenham, beating New Zealand in Sunday afternoon's final.

Wales were battered in their campaign, losing all of their pool matches in a disastrous showing for Richie Pugh's side. Wales were beaten by Fiji (38-17), USA (33-19) and Spain (42-17) in Saturday’s Pool A matches. Then, on Sunday, they lost 14-5 to Scotland in the ninth-placed quarter-final and went down 22-21 to Canada in the 13th place semi-final.

However, at the other end of the scale, it was the Wallabies who were crowned the tournament's champions, beating the All Blacks 19-14 in a toughly-fought finale.

Henry Paterson starred for Australia, earning the man-of-the-match prize, with a hat-trick of tries, including the winner in golden point extra time, plus he produced a try-saving tackle which stopped New Zealand from winning after the buzzer had sounded in regulation time. Australia's 19-14 triumph was their first against New Zealand in a cup final since 2002 at Brisbane.

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