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Sergio Parisse planning Six Nations farewell with a cunning twist

By Online Editors
Franco Smith wants Sergio Parisse to have at least one more match with Italy (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

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Italy star Sergio Parisse looks set to end his long Test career in Rome during this season’s Guinness Six Nations Championship.

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And the 36-year-old has confirmed that he will not play the entire tournament, which begins for the Azzurri against Wales in Cardiff on February 1.

It will leave Italy boss Franco Smith to find a new captain as he prepares for another Six Nations campaign.

Italy’s two home games during this season’s tournament are against Scotland on February 22 and England three weeks later.

“I told Smith my desire to end my international career in Rome in front of my family, my friends and our fans,” Parisse said in an interview with Corriere dello Sport and reported by www.onrugby.it.

(Continue reading below…)

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“He agrees that I deserve another game, that I cannot end with that match cancelled by the typhoon (Italy’s final World Cup pool game against New Zealand in Toyota City, Japan, in October).

“I will face Scotland, England or both, but I will certainly not play the entire Six Nations. The national team needs to develop other players with leadership skills.

“If I were permanently in a group, even more if I were a captain, I would occupy certain spaces. Instead, it is time for others to take my place.”

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Number eight Parisse, who has won 142 caps, made his Italy debut against the All Blacks in 2002. Only two players – New Zealand World Cup-winning captain Richie McCaw and Wales skipper Alun-Wyn Jones – have made more international appearances than him.

– Press Association 

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