When England Counties line up in the Pepe Rojo stadium in Vallodolid to face Spain on Saturday , there will be a familiar face awaiting to confront them in the red shirts of the hosts.
Cornishman Tom Parker originally from Truro, who now lives in the Spanish Basque country and plays his rugby with Basque side Ordizia has been named in the Spanish squad for the upcoming match.
Tom, who can count Harlequins and the Cornish All Blacks amongst his previous clubs, also playing once for Cornwall in 2008 in the Tamar Cup match against Devon at Launceston, is certainly feeling up for the challenge against the England Counties side.
Whilst relishing the prospect of coming up against two fellow Cornishmen in the England Counties team, Ben Hilton (Launceston) and Aaron Penberthy (Redruth), Parker is keen to cross swords with an old adversery and teammate from Launceston Steve Pape.
“I am looking forward to meeting up again with my old clubmate at Launceston Steve Pape, who now plays at Rosslyn Park. I played with him for two years at Launceston and we spent many a Tuesday evening at training at Polson tearing into each other to see who would get the No.4 shirt on the Saturday. He’s a good friend and we chat often, no doubt we will enjoy a beer or two after the match. However, I do hope that I will be on the winning side!
Tom has settled now into his new lifestyle and finds the Basque way of life very similar to Cornwall. “I’ve been here for three years now and feel that the Basque Country is very much my adopted home, it’s very similar in many ways to Cornwall. I will never forget Cornwall and where I come from. I’ve made lots of friends here, the rugby club in Ordizia is very friendly and they are very passionate and knowledgable about the game.
In their opening tour match against a Madrid representative XV, England Counties won 53-24 scoring eight tries.