With Super Typhoon Hagibis looming, World Rugby has been forced to cancel some World Cup matches this weekend. So far, England’s Pool C match with France has been cancelled as has New Zealand’s Pool B match with Italy, with the matches being registered as draws. Although it is unfortunate, the danger that this typhoon poses is bigger than any rugby match, as lives are ultimately at risk.
While no one wants to see games cancelled, both England and France had qualified for the quarter-finals, and New Zealand were firm favourites against Italy – albeit the Italians did have a chance of beating them which they have now been deprived of.
There is a bigger picture in all of this, which many are aware of, but purely from a rugby perspective, the player that is most unfortunate from this ordeal is Sergio Parisse. The long-time captain of Italy is set to retire from international rugby at the end of the RWC and there was no better swansong than against the reigning champions.
He has been denied the chance to pull on his country’s jersey for a 143rd and final time, and he is perhaps one player in the entire tournament who deserves that the most after all he has given to Italy over the past 17 years. The Toulon-bound No8 has vented his anger at this decision, suggesting World Rugby could move or reschedule the game, which many others have also suggested.
However, possibly once the red mist has evaporated he will understand that the risks and complications that exist with the scheduling alternatives outweigh the sentimentality of the occasion.
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Nonetheless, this is still a sporting black mark, something that many fans on Twitter have been quick to realise as they shared their bitter disappointment that the 36-year-old will not be given the farewell he may have wanted.
On the plus side, some fans are playfully highlighting that he would have never dreamt that his last game against the All Blacks would be registered as a draw. This is what has been said:
Lastly, utterly gutted for Parisse. Please tell me we can get him into a Barbarians team? Even let him wear an Italy strip sure.
— Niall Mac Eitrinn (@Niallon) October 10, 2019
Heart also goes out to Italy, where we will see one of rugby's greats Sergio Parisse, and his teammate Leonardo Ghiraldini, miss out on their swansong on the big stage, regardless of what the result is most likely to be against NZ (5) #RWC2019
— Ed Green (@Ed_AGreen) October 10, 2019
Actually heartbroken for Italy's Parisse with his last ever game being pulled
— Seán Carey (@seanogcarey) October 10, 2019
Me knowing I’ll never see Parisse in an Italian shirt again. pic.twitter.com/XyN6eBjSdu
— Stitchy ? ? ? (@spank_man10) October 10, 2019
What about Parisse's final match? If anyone deserves a packed stadium to wave them off, he does!
— Maurice Anderson (@MoStandSure) October 10, 2019
So with the Italy getting called off. Is that the last time we have have Sergio Parisse Grace the pitch? What a player that man has been !! #RWC19
— EmmettG (@emmettglenn) October 10, 2019
I won't lie, gutted we won't see Parisse one last time in an Italy shirt, a game against the All Blacks in a RWC would've been the perfect send off!!#NZvITA @sergioparisse #Legend ???? pic.twitter.com/JnKzLaUpCo
— Iain Hunt ??????? (@IainHunt) October 10, 2019
Safety is absolutely paramount for the RWC tournament in Japan, but it's still a massive shame that Sergio Parisse is getting his final test taken away from him.
— Georgia Gillard (@TheGeorgeuh) October 10, 2019
Spare a thought for Serigo Parisse. He's been an absolute beast for Italy for 17 years… We've all loved watching him play, he's carried Italy through some tough times and his international career has not even ended on his terms. Thank you Sergio #NZLvITA
— Tim Marshall (@TMRugbyCoach) October 10, 2019
Huge result for them to be fair, unbelievable for Parisse to get such a big result on his last ever appearance
— Chris Leavy (@ChristyElsom) October 10, 2019
And Parisse signs off with Italy’s first ever non-loss against NZ!
— Owen Callan (@OwenCallan) October 10, 2019
Sergio Parisse caps off his World Cup career with a sensational draw against the reigning World Champions, New Zealand. Heroic defence saw the All Blacks fail to score over 80 minutes. #NZLvITA
— Patrick Woulfe (@thebigbadwoulfe) October 10, 2019
This is also a disappointing ending for other Italian players such as Leonardo Ghiraldini and Alessandro Zanni, who have equally been great servants to their country. However, in terms of their status in Italian and world rugby, they do not match Parisse. Very few players in the game do.
WATCH: The moment when two of Saturday’s World Cup games were officially cancelled
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