Rugby: Sunwolves eye a win over Bulls at National Stadium to finish season on a high

Hayden Parker in action for the Sunwolves. The Sunwolves are hoping to beat South African side Bulls at the National Stadium on Saturday (June 30).
Hayden Parker in action for the Sunwolves. The Sunwolves are hoping to beat South African side Bulls at the National Stadium on Saturday (June 30).PHOTO COURTESY OF JSRA/H. NAGAOKA

SINGAPORE - The scores were tied, regulation time had run out, and Sunwolves' fly-half Hayden Parker was being closed down - fast - on his kicking side. Taking a deep breath, he swung his unpractised right boot through the ball and, seconds later, was mobbed by his team-mates.

The kick gave the Sunwolves a last-ditch drop goal to beat the Stormers 26-23 at Hong Kong's Mong Kok Stadium on May 19, for what was their second consecutive win, after beating the Reds 63-28 a week earlier.

It was the first time since the Sunwolves' 2016 entry into Super Rugby that they managed back-to-back wins. And, while they lost the following two fixtures after that, Parker believes more history can be made, starting on Saturday when they host the South African side Bulls at the National Stadium.

"We're looking to try and win our next three games and try and finish our season on a high. If we can go out there and play the rugby that I know we can play, I've no doubt we can win games," said Parker.

The Sunwolves managed a solitary win in 2016, and two last year. That record has already been matched, with three games left to play. After playing the Bulls in Singapore, the Sunwolves will face the Waratahs (July 7) and the Reds (July 13) to close out their season.

"It's always nice to make history. We're obviously taking one game at a time, but it's possible. We've got every chance."

It was exactly that attitude that saw Parker swing his weaker right foot at the ball against the Stormers, and that successful conversion has sparked not just a personal confidence in the Kiwi, but has seen belief grow within the team.

"I just muck around having a few (with my right foot), I practise kicking with it only from time to time, but that drop goal was just the finishing move to all the hard work that the team put in for that whole match," said Parker, who will arrive tomorrow with his team.

"This will be my first time in Singapore, and the only thing I've heard about it is that it's really hot - and a very clean, beautiful city - but hot," he said. "But we're looking forward to going there and showing the fans much of the same - we're always looking to keep improving what we're doing, and play with a lot of speed."