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Sergio Parisse confirms when he will finally bid 'arrivederci' to rugby union

By Paul Smith
(Photo by Francois Nel - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

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Italy star Sergio Parisse has confirmed he will retire at the end of the season.

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And after twice being denied a farewell test match appearance, the world’s third most-capped player remains hopeful he will be permitted a swansong in the Azzurri jersey.

The Toulon no.8, who has won 142 caps, has been a stalwart of the international game since 2002 during which time he has featured in an incredible 69 Six Nations matches.

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Parisse, who spent much of his club career with Stade Francais, was due to retire from international rugby after the 2019 World Cup but changed his mind when Italy’s final group game against the All Blacks was cancelled due to an incoming typhoon.

The coronavirus pandemic then put paid to a second scheduled farewell test appearance against England in the 2020 Guinness Six Nations leaving him behind only Wales’ Alun Wyn Jones and New Zealand’s Richie McCaw on the all-time list.

“It would be a nice ending to be able to play again in front of the Italian public but it is not an obsession,” he said.

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“I am in contact with the new president and the new coach. There is also a desire on the part of the Italian leadership to give me the chance to make one last match.

“But I never liked, in my professional career, to have gifts. I could have continued with Italy and had 150 caps instead of 142 but it is not what I want. Records don’t interest me.”

The 38-year-old works with Toulon’s academy players and also coaches the lineout, meaning he has no hesitation in hanging up his boots come the end of the current Top 14 campaign.

“It’s certain because you mustn’t push things too far, especially at the physical level because mentally, I feel very fresh,” he said.

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“Everyone knows their body and knows what they are capable of doing. I knew I had the mental and physical strength to make a final season. It was also a discussion with the club.

“At 38, there are questions that arise. With the club, we all agreed that it was a good decision. Now it’s up to me to have fun with every game.”

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Sergio Parisse confirms when he will finally bid 'arrivederci' to rugby union

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