A WIRRAL dad with a passion for all things rugby has been handpicked to support the nation’s team when they embark on their tour of New Zealand in May.
Neil Parsley, director of Hoylake’s Underground Training Station, has a wealth of experience when it comes to both codes of the sport but it is rugby union that will grab his attention this summer when he works as part of England Rugby’s performance team when they take on the All Blacks.
The former Warrington Wolves full back, who enjoyed success with the club in 2000, has spent 15 years working as a strength and conditioning coach, helping a variety of teams including Great Britain’s Olympic Taekwondo team in 2012.
The 39-year-old, who lives in West Kirby with his wife Louise and three children, described his latest appointment as a “dream come true”.
“I finished the Olympics with the Taekwondo team and at that time the England Rugby team had a bit of a change around in the athletic development department and I was sort of headhunted,” explained Neil.
“I started doing their strength and conditioning last year and it has gone really well.
“After the Six Nations they asked me to go to the toughest place you can go on their summer tour – New Zealand – where they’re going to play three games against the All Blacks.”
Despite having a passion for rugby league, Neil says he is “made up” to be taking part with the country’s union side.
He said: “They are playing really well at the moment and they only just missed out on the Six Nations.
“It’s really exciting and the whole team and staff really seem to be on the up.
“Just to be a part of it, especially with rugby being my thing, is fantastic.
“I’m pretty made up - for a strength and conditioning coach, it's just pretty amazing and to go on tour to New Zealand will be absolutely fantastic – I’m absolutely buzzing.”