HADLEIGH Parkes admits it will be a wrench to leave Wales and end his international career but that the "incredible opportunity" in Japan was too good to turn down.

The 32-year-old is leaving the Scarlets for a lucrative deal with Panasonic Wild Knights, who have also signed England and Lions lock George Kruis from Saracens on a one-year deal.

Parkes' departure means an end to his Test career because he has won 29 caps since making his debut against South Africa in 2017.

The New Zealander qualified through residency and became a mainstay of Warren Gatland's team but will no longer be available to Wayne Pivac, as he falls short of the 60-cap mark required by those who play outside of Wales.

Western Telegraph:

"As a family we have made the hard rugby decision to leave the country we have fallen in love with and to head to Japan where a new adventure awaits," said Parkes in his column with BBC Wales.

"It certainly wasn't a quick or easy decision but when you have to weigh up your family's future, it is an incredible opportunity for us and we are really excited about what lies ahead.

"I was lucky enough to spend eight or nine weeks in Japan last year. It is a special country and we are looking forward to immersing ourselves in the culture and the lifestyle.

"I'm excited to get back on the field with the opportunity to play with the Panasonic Wild Knights. The Panasonic club has great history and big ambitions so it is an exciting time to be joining them.

"As we get ready to leave Wales we would like to thank everyone that has played a part in our time here. Supporters, team-mates, management and all our friends have made our time here so special. It will be hard leaving."

Parkes' form for the Scarlets earned international honours and he made an immediate impression with two tries on debut against the Springboks.

Dependable and with the ability to play both a wide game and a confrontational one, the veteran will leave a sizeable hole in midfield.

Of his 29 Test appearances, 27 were starts and Parkes scored six tries, memorably scoring the early opener in the Grand Slam clincher against Ireland in the Cardiff rain last year.

Western Telegraph:

"Playing for Wales has been a huge honour," he wrote. "To represent the country, to wear that famous jersey and to give everything you have whilst in it has been an incredible experience.

"The support I have had from across the nation has been overwhelming and I have been so proud to play my part.

"Every international match is a huge event, tens of thousands flock to Cardiff and the atmosphere on matchday is like no other - it is very special.

"I was incredibly proud to play at the World Cup and I will never forget that rain-soaked day at Principality Stadium last year when we got our hands back firmly on the Six Nations trophy."

The loss of Parkes leaves a gap at 12 with Owen Watkin, who has predominantly featured off the bench, the natural replacement.

Nick Tompkins, who starred in the Six Nations and is set to join the Dragons on a season-long loan from Saracens, is another option given that Lions star Jonathan Davies will be fit again after suffering a serious injury at the World Cup.

Fly-half/centre Owen Williams is putting his Test career on hold by moving to Japan from Gloucester.