'Super Rugby opened my eyes' - Parling

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Parling ended his rugby career reversing the usual trend in the game of players travelling from the southern hemisphere to the north, by playing for the Rebels in Super Rugby.


He said in a column in Rugby World magazine, "There are many factors involved in moving abroad. No one size fits all.


"Some lads will improve from staying in a team at home. Super Rugby is definitely different and I think experiencing it for a season earlier in my career would have improved me," he said.


However, he added that it would have needed to be when he was in his early 20s and he didn't know if he would have been good enough to get the opportunity then.


"I wouldn't have even considered it as a younger player because I always had the aim of playing for England. It also depends on the club and the deal – Joe Marchant has joined the Auckland Blues in a good deal and when he's done that he will go back to Harlequins," he said.


Parling added that for experienced players it depended on who they were and what they wanted because the reality was they wouldn't be paid as well as if they were still in Britain.


"If you're looking at longer term and thinking about your whole rugby career, playing abroad could be good for you.


"If I had gone to Super Rugby earlier, I would have seen the game in a different way. You can tell just from watching it that it's looser, quicker. The way the majority of Super Rugby teams view attack is different to the UK.


"We looked at a stat recently that said even if you concede three tries in a game, you've still got a 52-54 percent chance of winning the game. After conceding three tries! I don't think that would be the same in the English Premiership," he said.


"But the skill-set and pace in attack would certainly develop European players."


There were opportunities for players prepared to give it a try and he pointed to Tom Wood having a year in New Zealand and Henry Purdy who played for Otago in the Mitre 10 Cup. Others had played in Australia.


"What I have learnt here is how to see things differently, such as statistical analysis and how teams look at each other. We've got massive amounts of team travel that you don't have to deal with in the UK, so factors like jet lag and different squad sizes need to be considered.


"Playing against Australian teams is different to facing Kiwi teams and that is very different from facing South African teams. Being here has really opened my eyes," he said.



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