Italy could be entering uncharted territory next week when they face South Africa, as it may be the first time in years that Sergio Parisse does not start due to tactics.
Starting in Parisse’s place was Braam Steyn, who not only scored the first try of the game but was a destructive thorn in the Canadians’ side all game.
With man of the match Jake Polledri having an equally dominant performance and Sebastian Negri not far behind on either flank, there is little space for the 141-cap legend – although there have been suggestions that he can move into the second row and be accommodated there.
While the 36-year-old Parisse brings experience and leadership that few others in the game can, he is undeniably no longer the force that he has been while he has carried his country over the past decade.
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Although it seemed at one time unimaginable, there is a growing number of people on Twitter suggesting that the veteran may find himself on the bench when his side line up against the Springboks at Shizuoka on October 4.
Of course, Conor O’Shea would have rested Parisse for the match against Canada to ensure that he is fresh for the Springboks but in his absence, Steyn has laid down an almighty claim to start against the country of his birth.
It may seem nothing short of rugby sacrilege, but there are murmurs that Italy may actually be better without Parisse. This is what has been said:
There may. Possibly. However thinly. Be a tiny, minute, atomically small case for Parisse to NOT start v South Africa. Because that back row performance by Steyn, Polledri, and Negri was ? #ITAvCAN
— Jack Zorab (@J_Zorab) September 26, 2019
— LeighPontypridd ??? (@LeighPontypridd) September 26, 2019
Unpopular opinion. Italy are better WITHOUT Parisse.
— Gareth Morgan (@Morgy1312) September 26, 2019
What do you mean Italy look a better team without Parisse playing……
— Mick Cotter (@MichaelCotter1) September 26, 2019
If Conor O'Shea doesn't realise after tonight that Italy are better off without Parisse in the starting XV, I'm not sure he ever will.
— Josh Gardner (@joshgardner) September 26, 2019
Everyone was worried that Italy would struggle when Parisse retired.
But now, Italy couldn’t be in a better position with Polledri, Steyn and Negri.
— Marcello Cossali-Francis (@marcello95cf) September 26, 2019
Polledri the new Parisse. Easily Italy's best player.
— Steve Coombs (@SouthTerracer) September 26, 2019
— Nghia Mai (Giuseppe #2) (@Ndartizt3000) September 26, 2019
The most promising thing for Italy is that they now arguably look stronger without Parisse, which bodes well for their future.
This is after fears over the past few years about how the team will cope without the No8, but the future is starting to look bright for the Azzurri.
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