Planet Rugby

Player of the Year nominee: Parisse

28th November 2013 11:05


Italy s N 8 and captain Sergio Parisse

Sergio Parisse: World's best player?

We asked five Planet Rugby scribes to name their 2013 Player of the Year...and got five different answers. Ben Coles argues the case for Sergio Parisse.

Sergio Parisse, the figurehead of Italian rugby, was perhaps a surprise inclusion among the list of nominees for the IRB Player of the Year Award last week - but he is a nominee none the less.

This selection is not without some substance.

A mixed year saw Parisse suspended for abusing a match referee before his long career in Test rugby eclipsed the 100 cap mark as the Azzurri impressed during the Six Nations before regressing in South Africa and then in November.

It is no coincidence that when Italy win, Parisse is one of the main causes. Yes, Italy don't come out on top that often - only three times in 2013 (that's one more than France) - but Parisse is a warrior.

In the win over Ireland he carried 15 times for 82 metres. Against France, he made 11 tackles - the joint-most of any Italian player - and 12 carries for 104 metres beating three defenders. His try in the opening five minutes was no close-range drive either, but a sprint away from the clutches of Wesley Fofana to leave the Stadio Olimpico rocking - and not for the first time either.

Those are two gigantic performances and it's no coincidence that in both the Azzurri finished on top on the scoreboard and picked up the win.

There has always been a sense of regret when wondering how a player of Parisse's talent would fare in a side surrounded by similar quality players, as Italy have continuously created a buzz before whimpering out during his time in the blue jersey.

His win percentage for 2013 - 30 per cent - is slightly higher than the percentage for his whole Test career at 29 per cent.

But just because those around him fail to hit similar heights doesn't mean that Parisse's talent should be ignored.

Continually described as world-class, the 30-year-old is showing no signs of slowing down and deserves recognition for his inspirational leadership and outstanding athletic talent.

by Ben Coles

Forthcoming Fixtures
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London IrishNorthampton vs London Irish Preview
Newcastle vs SaracensNewcastle vs Saracens Preview
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Heineken Cup
Saturday , April 26
Saracens vs Clermont Auvergne15:40
More Heineken Cup fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs ScarletsCardiff Blues vs Scarlets Preview
Newport Gwent D'gons vs OspreysNewport Gwent D
Saturday , April 26
Glasgow vs Edinburgh19:05
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Amlin Challenge Cup
Friday , April 25
Northampton vs Harlequins20:00
More Amlin Challenge Cup fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 25
Blues vs Waratahs17:35
Brumbies vs Chiefs17:40
Sharks vs Highlanders19:10
Saturday , April 26
Hurricanes vs Reds19:35
Western Force vs Bulls17:40
Cheetahs vs Stormers17:05
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , April 19
Bath 32 - 20 WorcesterBath vs Worcester Report
Exeter 12 - 55 SaleExeter vs Sale Report
Wasps 38 - 30 GloucesterWasps vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Zebre 26 - 13 EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Report
Connacht 23 - 32 MunsterConnacht vs Munster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Oyonnax 19 - 19 ToulouseOyonnax vs Toulouse Report
Perpignan 31 - 46 ToulonPerpignan vs Toulon Report
Racing Metro Paris 22 - 6 Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Stade Francais 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles
Grenoble 21 - 21 Bayonne
Biarritz 19 - 13 Brive
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 17 - 18 CrusadersChiefs vs Crusaders Report
Stormers 18 - 3 LionsStormers vs Lions Report
Sharks 19 - 8 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
Waratahs 19 - 12 BullsWaratahs vs Bulls Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins 24 - 20 LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Leinster 62 - 7 Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Report
Glasgow 27 - 9 UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Castres 22 - 15 MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 39 - 20 BluesHurricanes vs Blues Report
Melbourne Rebels 22 - 16 Western Force
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
4Leicester Tigers2064