Sonny Parker has confirmed today that he will be playing for London Welsh next season after agreeing a move to Old Deer Park.
The Welsh international centre will make the switch to the Aviva Premiership hopefuls, who are currently involved in the RFU Championship play-offs, when his Ospreys contract expires at the end of the current season.
The New Zealander, who went on to become a Grand Slammer after qualifying for Wales through residency, signed for the region in the summer of 2004 following the demise of Celtic Warriors. He went on to become a regional stalwart over the last eight years with 157 caps and 29 tries for the Ospreys, statistics that place him sixth in the all-time appearance list and fourth in the try scorers chart. He has won three Celtic League titles and played the full 80 minutes in both EDF Energy Cup Finals against Leicester at Twickenham.
Speaking after announcing his move today, Sonny commented:
“Although I’m excited about joining London Welsh I’m really sad to be leaving the Ospreys after eight great years. It’s a place that I’ve considered home ever since I joined from the Celtic Warriors and I’ve always appreciated the way I’ve been treated here. I’ve grown up with a lot of the boys during this time and I wouldn’t be the person that I am if it wasn’t for the Ospreys.
“When I think back to 2004 when I didn’t know what was happening to me when the Warriors finished, people like Sean Holley, Lyn Jones, Roger Blyth and Mike Cuddy looked after me and helped me to develop as a player and as a person. Over the years since then I’ve been given the opportunity to contribute more to the group, not just as a player but as a mentor to younger centres coming through. I hope that I’ve been able to leave my mark, not just in the success of the team but in some of the youngsters that I’ve worked with.
“It’s hard to leave the Ospreys but I understand the situation and where things are at the moment. I genuinely believe that in Steve Tandy the team is in good hands for the future. I’m also grateful to the fans who have always been fantastic, be it at the Gnoll, St Helen’s, the Liberty, the Brewery Field, or on the road for our away games. They’ve been excellent to me over the years and I wish them, and the Ospreys every success next season.”