Parisse defends Brunel’s reign

Date published: January 27 2016

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Italy captain Sergio Parisse has sympathised with coach Jacques Brunel ahead of the Frenchman's final Six Nations in charge of the Azzurri.

Brunel will step down at the end of the tournament having finished last just once during his time in charge, along with a fourth-placed finish in 2013.

"Jacques has spent four years in Italy and it’s not easy for any coach," Parisse said.

"You must know that there aren’t too many facilities. There aren’t 40 or 50 players. We’ve given a lot during this time. When you are coach, you are criticised."

Parisse, now 32, is preparing for another Six Nations campaign and knows there will be extra responsibility on his shoulders with ten new caps named in the Italy squad for the tournament.

He said: "As captain, especially with the ten players my job is to try to help them and give them confidence. There is a lot of pressure when you play an international test match. The majority have not played in stadiums like the Stade de France.

"As captain you try to focus on rugby and help them manage the pressure around them."

Focusing on Italy's ambitions for tournament, Parisse believes they have the talent to defeat any of the other teams, but lack the precision.

"When you perform well you have continuity but in the few years when we had great results, beating France twice, beating Ireland, but after that we concede 40 points the weekend after," he explained.

"In terms of quality and how we want to play, I feel we can beat them. I don’t think we’re a hundred miles away. But at international level there are little details.

"We know we have a lot of weakness. The way we can be competitive is to play at 100 percent to be focused on every single match."

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