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Sergio Parisse plans Italy farewell in Six Nations despite not making squad

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Parisse, centre, was highly critical of World Rugby’s decision to cancel, rather than postpone, Italy’s final pool match against New Zealand at last year’s World CupItaly legend Sergio Parisse plans to mark his retirement from international rugby with a final appearance for the Azzurri at this year’s Six Nations.The 36-year-old, who has 142 caps, planned…

Sergio Parisse

Parisse, centre, was highly critical of World Rugby’s decision to cancel, rather than postpone, Italy’s final pool match against New Zealand at last year’s World Cup

Italy legend Sergio Parisse plans to mark his retirement from international rugby with a final appearance for the Azzurri at this year’s Six Nations.

The 36-year-old, who has 142 caps, planned to retire after the World Cup.

However, he was denied a farewell appearance when Italy’s final pool match in Japan was cancelled because of Typhoon Hagibis.

Parisse is not in coach Franco Smith’s initial 35-man squad, but expects a call-up for Italy’s home games.

“I will face Scotland, England or both, but I will certainly not play the entire Six Nations,” Parisse said.

Parisse made his debut in a 64-10 defeat by the All Blacks as an 18-year-old in June 2002. Only New Zealand’s Richie McCaw and Wales’ Alun Wyn Jones have won more Test caps.

His club career included a 14-year stint with Stade Francais before he moved to current side Toulon.

Smith has recalled another veteran for this year’s Six Nations with 33-year-old Benetton centre Alberto Sgarbi, who last played for his country in June 2014, included.

“We have a mix of experienced players and youngsters who want to establish themselves on the international stage,” said Smith, who was appointed interim coach after Irishman Conor O’Shea resigned in November to join England’s Rugby Football Union.

Italy, who have not won a game in the tournament since they beat Scotland in February 2015, open their Six Nations campaign against champions Wales on 1 February in Cardiff.

Italy Six Nations squad

Forwards:

Pietro Ceccarelli (Edinburgh), Danilo Fischetti (Zebre), Andrea Lovotti (Zebre), Marco Riccioni (Benetton), Giosue Zilocchi (Zebre), Luca Bigi (Zebre), Oliviero Fabiani (Zebre), Federico Zani (Benetton), Dean Budd (Benetton), Niccolo Cannone (Argos Petrarca Rugby/Benetton), Federico Ruzza (Benetton), David Sisi (Zebre), Alessandro Zanni (Benetton), Marco Lazzaroni (Benetton), Giovanni Licata (Zebre), Johan Meyer (Zebre), Sebastian Negri (Benetton), Jake Polledri (Gloucester), Abraham Steyn (Benetton)

Backs:

Callum Braley (Gloucester), Guglielmo Palazzani (Zebre), Marcello Violi (Zebre), Tommaso Allan (Benetton), Carlo Canna (Zebre), Giulio Bisegni (Zebre), Tommaso Boni (Zebre), Luca Morisi (Benetton), Alberto Sgarbi (Benetton), Mattia Bellini (Zebre), Tommaso Benvenuti (Benetton), Michelangelo Biondelli (Fiamme Oro Rugby/Zebre), Jayden Hayward (Benetton), Matteo Minozzi (Wasps), Edoardo Padovani (Zebre), Leonardo Sarto (Benetton)

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