Italy number eight Sergio Parisse has confirmed he will end his Test career on home soil in Rome during this year’s Six Nations Championship.
The 36-year-old insists he won’t play the entire tournament, which begins for the Azzurri against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday, February 1, instead he’ll run out at least once at home. Those two games are against Scotland on Saturday, February 22 and England on Saturday, March 14.
That means new Italy head coach Franco Smith is looking for a new skipper in what will be his first Six Nations in charge of the Azzurri.
“I told Smith my desire to end my international career in Rome in front of my family, my friends and our fans,” Parisse said in an interview with Corriere dello Sport, and reported by www.onrugby.it.
“He agrees that I deserve another game, that I cannot end with that match cancelled by the typhoon (Italy’s final World Cup pool game against New Zealand in Toyota City, Japan in October).
“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.
“If I were permanently in a group, even more if I were a captain, I would occupy certain spaces. Instead, it is time for others to take my place.”
Parisse, who made his international debut against the All Blacks in 2002, has won 142 caps, the third most in the Test game to date.