January 8, 2020 / 9:12 AM / 17 days ago

Parisse to retire at Six Nations when Italy play in Rome

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2019 - Pool B - South Africa v Italy - Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, Shizuoka, Japan - October 4, 2019. Italy's Sergio Parisse reacts. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra

(Reuters) - Italy’s most-capped rugby player Sergio Parisse will get a chance to finish his 18-year career in front of his home fans at this year’s Six Nations tournament when the Italians play Scotland and England at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

The loose forward, 36, was set to retire after Italy’s World Cup campaign in Japan last year but was denied his chance to play a potential farewell match when Typhoon Hagibis forced the cancellation of their final pool game against New Zealand.

Parisse, who has been capped 142 times — third in the all-time rankings behind All Blacks’ great Richie McCaw (148) and Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones (143) — said he would not play the entire Six Nations tournament after discussions with interim head coach Franco Smith.

“I told Smith my desire to end my international career in Rome in front of my family, my friends and our fans,” Parisse told Corriere dello Sport.

“He agrees that I cannot end with that match cancelled by the typhoon. I will face Scotland, England or both, but I will certainly not play the entire Six Nations.”

Italy begin their Six Nations campaign with a trip to Wales on Feb. 1 followed by a second away game in France a week later. Their first home game is against Scotland on Feb. 22 and they host England in their final game on March 14.

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Chopra

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