Hadleigh Parkes: Judgement Day, Anscombe's move and fake tans

Hadleigh Parkes column
Judgement Day: Dragons v Scarlets
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 27 April Kick-off: 15:00 BST
Coverage: Live radio commentary and updates on the BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

In his latest BBC Sport column, Scarlets and Wales centre Hadleigh Parkes discusses a big weekend of Pro14 action at Judgement Day, avoiding the Rodney Parade changing rooms - and why real tans are better than fake ones.

There's a huge amount at stake this Judgement Day. We've got to beat the Dragons and, after that, Cardiff Blues and Ospreys could be fighting it out for the chance to play us in another local derby for that Champions Cup play-off.

It means a lot to clubs and supporters that you're in that top tier in Europe. They're awesome games. Not to take anything away from the Challenge Cup but those Champions Cup games against the big teams are pretty cool to play in.

I really like Judgement Day. I think it's a great concept to have all four teams there. They price the tickets well, it's a good chance for a day out, a good reason to come into town for some lunch, a few beers, watch a couple of games of rugby. What a stadium to play in as well.

I've always played the Dragons at Judgement Day, which isn't too bad because it means I don't have to play at Rodney Parade! The changing rooms aren't great but I think it's the same for the home team there.

The changing rooms we'll have on Saturday aren't as nice as the ones we use for Wales games. The two away teams - us and the Ospreys - are on the other side of the stadium. We come on to the pitch through the press box. The changing rooms aren't shocking but they're certainly not as nice.

Once we're done, I'm going to watch the Blues-Ospreys game - but in a different venue! It will either be our last game or we'll have some time off before the play-off.

So it will be nice to sit back, relax and enjoy what should be a good match from a pub somewhere.

'Chicken's big move'

The Cardiff Blues-Ospreys match is going to interesting as it could be Gareth Anscombe's last one for the Blues - and against the team he's joining next season.

We get on pretty well and I know it's been an extremely tough decision for him. He's done well for the Blues and Wales and you've just got to wish the guy luck.

It's a decision he feels is best for him and his family. It's an exciting move for him as well, and I'm sure he'll want to put in a good performance to help the Blues beat the Ospreys.

Can you imagine, though, if he's got a kick in the last minute to win it for the Blues and deny Ospreys a place in next season's Champions Cup? That would be brilliant!

But in all seriousness, I'm sure he'll do all he can to make sure the Blues win.

Welsh rugby's a pretty small world, and 'Chicken' (Anscombe) has a couple of mates who've gone down to the Ospreys or Scarlets already, and he sees them all the time.

Virtually everyone lives within an hour and a half of each other, so it's a very small place. Everyone gets on pretty well which is good.

Sometimes if I'm out for a coffee with the Scarlets boys, we'll see the guys from another region in one cafe, so we usually go into a different one!

You play with them for your country and there are big rivalries but there's no reason why you can't go out for a coffee or a beer together.

Hadleigh Parkes (right) with Gareth Anscombe
Hadleigh Parkes and Gareth Anscombe played for Auckland together from 2011 to 2014 before being reunited as Wales players

Stop-start Scarlets season

It's been a stop-start season for us at the Scarlets.

Every team goes through its injuries - we've just had a lot of big injuries this year and had a lot of key players out.

But you've got to hand it to Edinburgh, they've been going well. When we played them earlier this month, in the first half we were in control and in the second half it just turned around.

It's a game we should have won and if we had we'd be in control of our own destiny going into this weekend.

As it is, we need a win against the Dragons and for Glasgow to beat Edinburgh for us to get that fourth spot and that Champions Cup play-off.

Then if Zebre can do us a favour and beat Benetton, we'll get into the Pro14 play-offs as well.

The way the table is at the moment, it's quite frustrating because there are a lot of games you look back to and think we should have won.

We've lost games this year that over the past few years we've been winning, particularly those tight games with only a couple of points in it.

A big cherry at the end of the year

We're all focused on Judgement Day but the World Cup is a pretty big cherry at the end of this year, so everyone wants to be involved in that.

The training squad is being named on Tuesday. I'm sure the coaches will be watching closely, particularly those on the fringes trying to put their hands up.

Derby matches are hard, the Principality Stadium is the best rugby stadium in the world, 50,000 tickets sold, so it's a pretty cool occasion.

And who knows what will happen? You might have a great few games, coaches might like you and pick you.

It's been a pretty good month since the Grand Slam. I managed to get away to Dubai for a bit, which was really nice.

It was my first time there and, by coincidence, there were about five other Scarlets boys there as well, so we had a few nice catch-ups out there.

We got some good sun and I got a bit of a tan - and a real one, as opposed to the fake ones you see a few players going for!

Hadleigh Parkes was speaking to BBC Sport Wales' Dafydd Pritchard.

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