(Main) Parker (centre left) is full of praise for Iestyn Harris (centre right), with whom he is developing a working partnership (Thumb) Sonny Parker celebrates a score against Scotland with Rhys Williams
Sonny Parker will be driven by fear against Ireland after getting the fright of his life last time out. The Wales centre admitted he feared the worst after being momentarily paralysed by a Jonny Wilkinson style 'stinger' injury to the nerve in his neck. Parker was laid flat out on his back during the win over Scotland without any feeling in his left arm. He is now even more fired up to make every chance count against Ireland this Sunday. "I was pretty freaked out at the time because I didn't know what I had done and I thought it could be really bad," admitted Parker. "When it happened all I could feel were pins and needles up and down my arm but I couldn't move it. "I knew it wasn't a break because I know what that feels like after doing it three times, it hurts a lot more. Gradually I could feel my fingers and I knew that was a good sign."
Scans revealed Parker had only stunned the nerve so has the all clear to win his tenth cap for Wales but only his third alongside converted centre Iestyn Harris. Yet he reckons they can form a deadly partnership in the Wales midfield.
"Iestyn is playing exceptionally well and I'm really enjoying playing outside him," said Parker. "He is just getting better and better but I also think the rest of the guys are getting used to him and understanding him more.
"He runs these strange unorthodox angles that I guess he gets from rugby league that the guys were perhaps struggling to predict before. He changes direction so many time as he spots mismatches very quickly, but now we're reading him much better and it's making the whole set of backs better."
Harris and Parker will have to be at their best if they are to conquer Lansdowne Road and end a four year losing streak against Ireland.
"Ireland will be a really good test for us because they've been one of the better sides over the past few years, especially from the Celtic nations," said Parker. "It's too early to say whether we can take over from them after just one game against Scotland but there's a lot of confidence in the camp.
"We are playing attractive rugby and the boys are showing their individuality. People know we have the skills and talent, it has just been about confidence but now that's coming."
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.