Another milestone for Italy stalwart
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Italy’s Sergio Parisse will play a record-equalling fifth Rugby World Cup after being named on Friday in the team to face Namibia in their Pool B opener.
The 36-year-old number eight joins his fellow Italian Mauro Bergamasco and Samoa’s Brian Lima as just the third player to take part in five editions of the rugby showcase.
Parisse will also earn his 141st Test cap, putting him joint second on the all-time list alongside Ireland’s Brian O’Driscoll and just seven shy of Richie McCaw’s record of 148.
Coach Conor O’Shea made nine changes to the team that was walloped 37-0 by England in their final World Cup warm-up for the game in Hanazono on Sunday.
The Six Nations side have their work cut out if they want to reach the quarter-finals for the first time, with New Zealand and South Africa heavy favourites to qualify from Pool B.
Italy: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Mattia Bellini, 13 Tommaso Benvenuti, 12 Luca Morisi, 11 Edoardo Padovani, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Sergio Parisse (captain), 7 Maxime Mbanda, 6 Braam Steyn, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Alessandro Zanni, 3 Tiziano Pasquali, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Nicola Quaglio
Replacements: 16 Oliviero Fabiani, 17 Simone Ferrari, 18 Marco Riccioni, 19 Dean Budd, 20 Jake Polledri, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Carlo Canna, 23 Matteo Minozzi
Date: Sunday, September 22
Venue: Hanazono Rugby Stadium, Higashiosaka
Kick-off: 14.45 (07.45 Italy time, 07.45 Namibia time, 05.45 GMT)
Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)