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Sergio Parisse's greatest victories

By Sam Warlow

As Italian great Sergio Parisse becomes the first player to reach 100 test defeats, we revisit some of his greatest victories.


ITALY v IRELAND 22-15, 2013

Italy went into their final Six Nations match of 2013 having never beaten Ireland during their time in the competition.

Ireland got off to a fast start, scoring a penalty in the fifth minute to take an early lead.

The Italians fought back in front of their home crowd, with the boots of Luciano Orquera and Gonzalo Garcia giving the Azzurri a slim 9-6 lead heading into the sheds.

Early after the break winger Giovanbattista Venditti scored the only try of the match to extend Italy’s lead to ten.

Captain Sergio Parisse saw yellow in the 51st minute, opening to door for an Irish comeback. Three Paddy Jackson penalties cut the Irish deficit to a single point with just 17 minutes remaining.


The Irish efforts wouldn’t be enough, as two more penalties from Orquera secured a famous Italian win.

Parisse was his usual industrious self, leading all players in run metres with 82 and making six tackles.

ITALY v ARGENTINA 30-29, 2005


Pierre Berbizier’s first win of his two-year tenure was certainly one to remember.

A big first-half showing from the visitors saw Italy take a 27-13 lead into the sheds.

Argentina scored first through Pablo Bouza, but Italy were quick to reply with flyhalf Ramiro Pez scoring a try just two minutes later.

Sergio Parisse scored Italy’s second try, and centre Gonzalo Canale picked up their third, all of which were converted by fullback Gert Peens.

To rub salt in the wound, all three of Italy’s tries were scored by Argentine-born players.

After halftime, the Pumas rallied to bring the score back to 27-26.

In the closing stages, Italy had to defend with just 13 men as locks Santiago Dellape (yellow) and Marco Bortolami (red) were sin-binned, but the Azzurri managed to hold on to secure a famous and rare away win in Cordoba.

ITALY v SCOTLAND 37-17, 2007

Another away win after a fast start, Italy scored three converted tries in the first six minutes to race out to a 21-0 lead against Scotland at Murrayfield in 2007.

Capitalising on Scottish mistakes, flanker Mauro Bergamasco charged down a kick to score the first try just 18 seconds in to the match. Five minutes later flyhalf Andrea Scanavacca and and winger Kaine Roberston were on the board after a pair of intercept tries.

The Scottish fought back through captain Chris Paterson and centre Rob Dewey, putting 17 points on the board.

Azzurri halfback Allesandro Troncon added another try and Scanavacca kicked three penalties to ensure Italy’s first ever Six Nations away win, by an impressive margin of 20 points nonetheless.

ITALY v SOUTH AFRICA 20-18, 2016

Arguably Italy’s most famous win – and their only win against a World Cup winning team – the Azzurri edged South Africa 20-18 in 2016.

It looked like business as usual when Bryan Habana crossed for the Springboks in the eighth minute.

Italy responded just three minutes later after pushing over the line from a rolling maul, with South African-born flanker and former club mate of Habana, Dries van Schalkwyk, picking up the score.

Springbok midfielder Damian de Allende scored the visitors’ second try after a 45-metre scamper down the right edge to regain the lead, and an Italian penalty from the boot of fullback Edoardo Padovani made for a 10-12 score line in favour of South Africa at the break.

A Pat Lambie penalty shortly after halftime pushed South Africa’s lead to five points, setting up a tense final third that contained three lead changes.

A two-on-one overlap saw Giovanbattista Venditti score Italy’s second try with 25 minutes remaining to give the home side a two-point advantage, before replacement flyhalf Elton Jantjies edged South Africa back in front with a penalty.

Carlo Canna finished the scoring, slotting a penalty to give Italy their final lead of the game in the 64th minute.

Italy held on tight for the final 15 before Tommaso Allen booted the ball into the stands to give his side a famous victory over Allister Coetzee’s Springboks.


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