Italy’s hopes of ending their barren 19-match Six Nations run without a win have been dealt a massive blow five days before their round three clash with Ireland in Rome as skipper Sergio Parisse has been ruled out through concussion.
Parisse was one of three players in Conor O’Shea’s squad who had to play for their non-Italian clubs last weekend, and a concussive blow suffered during his 19 minutes off the bench for Stade Francais in their Saturday evening match at home to Lyon has now put him out of action with Italy.
The Italian skipper was at the second stage of his return to play protocol when he suffered the setback that rules him out of contention to face the Irish.
Parisse’s influence won’t be completely lost to Italy as he will stay on with O’Shea’s squad and continue his rehabilitation in Rome. However, his inability to take part in the match is a serious blow after he led the team earlier this month in their matches against Scotland and Wales.
A Tuesday lunchtime Italian rugby federation press release reported: “Sergio Parisse, captain and No8 of the national team, will not be available for the third day of the Guinness Six Nations 2019 on Sunday, February 24, in Rome against Ireland.
— Italrugby (@Federugby) February 19, 2019
“After undergoing the second phase of neurological investigations following the suspected concussive trauma reported in the Top 14 match with Stade Francais, he will continue the return path required by the current international regulations.”
The veteran 35-year-old forward, who has won 136 caps since making his Italian debut in 2002, has continued to be his country’s talisman since O’Shea took charge for the 2016 summer tour.
This year is set to be Parisse’s last in the Italian blue as he is expected to retire from Test rugby at the end of the World Cup in Japan.
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