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Parisse confident ahead of Italy’s World Cup challenge

Parisse confident ahead of Italy’s World Cup challenge
  • Italy face New Zealand and South Africa in a competitive Pool B.
  • Parisse is Italy's all-time record appearance holder.

Sergio Parisse hopes there is a big summer in store for Italy as he joins up with the national side ahead of this year’s Rugby World Cup.

For the past four World Cups, Italy haven’t progressed to the knockout stages of the tournament, finishing third in their pool each time.

At the 2019 edition, Italy will be joined in their pool by New Zealand, South Africa, Namibia and Canada.

However, the Guinness Six Nations’ record appearance-maker believes the Azzurri squad is focused on making history in Japan.

“I’ve joined up with a squad which has a lot of certainty and that has a culture of work,” Parisse said.

“It is a determined group that knows our objectives. The objective of this squad is to make history and qualify for the quarter-finals of the World Cup.

“The players know we have the talent and the work that is being done during the preparation is thought out by Conor [O’Shea] and the staff.

“We have four matches to prepare for this World Cup and that gives the coaches the chance to give everyone a game before deciding who will go to Japan with the mission of making history.

“Linking up with the national squad gives me so much energy because this squad is determined and knows what is possible.

“Of course it’s not easy, we have a group with South Africa and New Zealand, who are two great teams.

“We also have Namibia and Canada in the space of four days for our first two games. We will have to use the whole squad to play those two games, to win them and give ourselves every chance.”

Having played in four previous World Cups, Parisse recognises the work done by the team before the tournament begins can be used to their advantage during the competition.

The 35-year-old, who recently left Stade Francais after 15 years to join Toulon, believes the preparation Italy have done will benefit them mentally and physically while in Japan.

“We’re on the first step of this journey,” Parisse added.

“The World Cup is a long journey. There are ups and downs because the physical preparation is very hard, mentally as well, but it has been studied so that during the camps. There is intense work, but we can also work hard back in our clubs.

“That is very intelligent because from my experience of four World Cups with other coaches and other moments, if the preparation isn’t managed well, that can be a problem, particularly from a mental standpoint.

“I think this preparation has been well studied and I’m convinced we will arrive in Japan physically ready but also mentally prepared for the games we have to play.”