Italian great Sergio Parisse will bow out of Test rugby on home soil during this year’s Six Nations tournament.
The veteran eighthman, who is the third-most capped international player of all time with 142 Tests, was set to retire at the conclusion of last year’s World Cup in Japan.
However, the 36-year-old was denied the chance of playing against the All Blacks in Italy’s final pool game as a result of the devastating typhoon Hagibis.
Parisse has confirmed that his Test career – which began nearly 18 years ago – would not end on such a disappointing note, by making himself available for Italy’s two home fixtures against Scotland [22 February] and England [14 March].
Following discussions with interim Italy head coach Franco Smith, Parisse revealed to Corriere dello Sport that he would not feature for the Azzurri throughout the competition.
‘I told [coach] Smith of my desire to end my international career in Rome in front of my family, friends and our fans,’ said Parisse.
‘He agrees that I deserve another game, that I cannot end with that match cancelled by the typhoon. 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. It is time for others to take my place.’
Italy open their campaign with a tough away fixture against defending champions Wales on 1 February.
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images