Italian legend aiming for sixth World Cup not in training squad
NEWS: The ex-captain of Italy, Sergio Parisse, has been left out of the 46-man pre-Rugby World Cup training squad as he seeks a record sixth appearance at the global event.
Parisse, 39, has been in good form for Toulon this season and had hoped for a recall despite retiring from international rugby following the 2019 World Cup, where he was denied a swansong after Italy’s final game against New Zealand was called off due to Typhoon Hagibis.
Crowley told reporters in March that Parisse, Italy’s most capped player with 142 appearances, was in his thinking for the tournament in France.
“Just talking about this is already wonderful but one should always look reality in the face, and at 39 the World Cup is a little further away than it might seem. The important thing is that if I am there it is not a gift for my past, I want Italy to take the strongest possible team to the World Cup and, only if I deserve it, I will be part of it. I’ll be the first to say yes if this possibility exists,” Parisse said.
If he is selected it will be at the age of 40.
Selection for RWC 2023 would see Parisse becoming the first player in history to play in six Rugby World Cups. He is presently one of three players to have appeared in five Rugby World Cups. Brian Lima played for Samoa at RWCs 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007. This made his the first player to appear in five Rugby World Cups.
The Azzurri will play warm-up matches against Scotland, Ireland, Romania and Japan ahead of the World Cup.
Italy have called up five uncapped players including former England prospect Paolo Odogwu.
Centre-cum-wing Odogwu was in the England squad for the entire 2021 Six Nations under former coach Eddie Jones without earning a cap.
The Coventry-born 26-year-old, who plays for Stade Francais, has now turned his attention to playing international rugby for Italy, qualifying through his father.
Harlequins’ English-born No.8 Dino Lamb, Zebre props Paolo Buonfiglio and Matteo Nocera, and Toulouse’s French-born halfback Martin Page-Relo are the other uncapped players named by Italy coach Kieran Crowley on Monday.
Italy training squad:
Forwards: Filippo Alongi, Paolo Buonfiglio, Pietro Ceccarelli, Simone Ferrari, Danilo Fischetti, Ivan Nemer, Matteo Nocera, Marco Riccioni, Federico Zani, Luca Bigi, Epalahame Faiva, Gianmarco Lucchesi, Marco Mandredi, Giacomo Nicotera, Niccolò Cannone, Edoardo Iachizzi, Dino Lamb, Federico Ruzza, David Sisi, Andrea Zambonin, Lorenzo Cannone, Riccardo Favretto, Toa Halafihi, Michele Lamaro, Sebastian Negri, Giovanni Pettinelli, Manuel Zuliani
Backs: Alessandro Fusco, Alessandro Garbisi, Martin Page-Relo, Stephen Varney, Tommaso Allan, Giacomo Da Re, Paolo Garbisi, Juan Ignacio Brex, Enrico Lucchin, Leonardo Marin, Tommaso Menoncello, Luca Morisi, Pierre Bruno, Ange Capuozzo, Simone Gesi, Monty Ioane, Federico Mori, Paolo Odogwu, Edoardo Padovani.