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Thursday Mar 3, 2022

Italy legend Parisse makes decision on speculated International return

Sergio Parisse makes a decision on his international future.

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Sergio Parisse is Italy’s most capped player and the third most capped player ever. Parisse made his international debut in June 2002 during a 64-10 loss to New Zealand as an 18 year old. He captained Italy from 2012 right until his last cap in the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Parisse started his professional club career with Benetton from 2003 until 2005. He then moved to France as he began his stint in the Top14. He played with Stade Francais from 2005 until 2019. Parisse won the Top14 title twice with Stade Francais in Paris, firstly in 2007 and for the second time, in 2015. Following the 2019 World Cup Parisse signed with European giants Toulon.

Parisse had planned to retire from international rugby after the 2019 Rugby World Cup, but the match against New Zealand was cancelled due to Typhoon Hagibis, therefore he chose to postpone his retirement. He later declared that he would retire after the 2020 Six Nations Championship, which would provide him the opportunity to play in front of his home crowd at the Stadio Flaminio for the final time. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the match against England in March was canceled, and Parisse had to postpone his retirement again.

Parisse said prior to the 2022 Six Nations championship that he would be very keen to finish out his international career if selected. However, Parisse was not named in the initial Italian squad for the first two rounds by Head Coach Kieran Crowley. Parisse was only coming back from injury at the time and had limited gametime at Toulon.

Speaking to the media, Parisse confirmed that he has decided to “decline” the opportunity to play for Italy in this Six Nations campaign, and likely will not play in the future. Parisse said it was discussed with Crowley about the potential opportunity to return to the Azzuri, however at the time prior to the championship, he did not anticipate being as needed by Toulon. Parisse has said he will turn his full attention to Toulon in the coming weeks as they look to avoid relegation. Toulon currently sit in 12th position in the Top 14 table.

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