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Sergio Parisse is looking for an Italy recall at the age of 38

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

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Legendary Italy No8 Sergio Parisse has revealed he is looking for a Test level recall and has spoken to new Azzurri coach Kieran Crowley about his chances of getting back involved for the 2022 Guinness Six Nations. The trail-blazing back-rower was due to retire from international rugby at the end of the 2019 World Cup, but he was denied a fitting send-off when his country’s final pool match versus the All Blacks was cancelled because of a typhoon. 

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First capped in 2002, Parisse has a total of 142 Test appearances, a hulking figure that is only bettered by Alun Wyn Jones of Wales and ex-All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw. Having been denied his World Cup farewell, it was planned that he would make an appearance versus England in Rome in the 2020 Six Nations. 

However, the arrival of the pandemic put an end to that idea as the match was postponed until October that year, but the notion that Parisse might appear for Italy again hasn’t yet been put to bed. 

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Parisse has already outlined he will retire from all rugby at the end of the 2021/22 season. But having now recovered from the broken wrist that made him unavailable for last month’s Autumn Nations Series, the Toulon forward made his comeback on December 4 versus Pau and has now revealed he has held talks with Italy boss Crowley in advance of a 2022 Six Nations featuring home games versus England and Scotland.  

Speaking in the Italian media this week, Parisse said: “My availability is total. I hope to play if they involve me.” He added: “My intention was to come back for Italy in 2021, but it went a different way because of things which are bigger than rugby.

“But I have never made a secret of my desire to pull on the blue jersey again, provided I am in the right condition. Have I spoken to Crowley? Yes, but everything still needs to be decided in more detail.”

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Crowley, the 1987 All Blacks World Cup winner, took charge of Italy after finishing up his stint coaching at Benetton and their November schedule finished with a 17-10 win over Uruguay following respective 47-9 and 37-16 defeats to New Zealand and Argentina.   

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