Of Simon Galinier
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Monument of Italian rugby, the third international line of Toulon Sergio Parisse (39 years; 142 appearances) has not yet had the exit he deserved with the Squadra Azzura, of which he was captain for a long time. Recall that he should have offered a last international stand against the All Blacks, during the 2019 World Cup in Japan, before this last day of the group stage was definitively canceled due to typhoon Hagibis.
Since then, the most French of the Italians, who arrived in France in 2005, has not been called up by the Italian coach Kieran Crowley. His last round internationally could have been during the 2022 6 Nations Tournament, but Sergio Parisse, a great gentleman, preferred to give priority to his RCT club, then in poor condition in the Top 14, rather than his national team. A choice that is all the more commendable if you know his visceral attachment to his native country. But Toulonnais, not summoned this autumn with Italy, has not said his last word and still keeps the Squadra Azzurra in the back of his mind, as he indicated, this Friday 4 November.
“For the 6 Nations Tournament, if the conditions are met, I will be available”
“I am in contact with the coach of the Italian team and the president of the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR)”, explained the record holder of selections in the history of Italian rugby (142 selections), before returning to his non-selection with the Azzurri for next autumn tour:
For these November test matches I don’t think there were the best conditions to participate. The World Cup is approaching and it is important for the manager to take advantage of this international window in November to try and see some players. In my case they know very well the things I can give and what I can’t give, so it wasn’t interesting for the Italian team today that I was part of the group. I didn’t say no to the national team. For the 6 Nations Tournament, if the conditions to participate are met, I will be available.
“In my case, planning the 2023 World Cup is very complicated”
At 39, Sergio Parisse, the second oldest player in the Top 14, behind Vadim Cobilas, does not want to give up his national team, anchored to the body, and does not exclude the possibility of playing the 2023 World Cup in France with the Blue Team: “No, no, I’ve said that several times. I have never set myself barriers or limits “, admits the person concerned.” Today, in my personal case, it is very complicated to project myself so far. Even if for everyone the World Cup is coming quickly and it is normal, for me it is still a lot far away. At the moment I am not in a position to say: I will be ready and I will play for this deadline. But I am not even able to say that I will not play the World Cup with Italy. No, no … “, he added again, before concluding :
I, in my head, have set personal goals and will do everything to achieve them. Of course, Italy is always in my head and is part of my goals as a player and it will be no different, even if it is my last season. Today my goal is very clear in my head, but I am not here, at the press conference, to publicly announce the goals I have set myself. To answer your question, yes, the Italian team is always on my mind and in my mind.
If he is present for this planetary event, the third line at the 5 World Cups (2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019) could enter a little more in the pantheon of world rugby becoming the only international player to play in 6 Rugby World Cups, in the space of 20 years! A sacred record that can make the immortal Sergio Parisse dream.
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