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Parisse captains Italy in fifth World Cup

Parisse captains Italy in fifth World Cup
  • Sergio Parisse is set to appear in his fifth World Cup
  • The Azzurri open their campaign against Namibia on Sunday
  • Tommaso Allan and Tito Tebaldi will start in the half-backs

Sergio Parisse will lead Italy against Namibia as he plays in his fifth Rugby World Cup in Sunday’s clash in Hanazono.

The Azzurri skipper follows in the footsteps of compatriot Mauro Bergamasco and Samoa’s Brian Lima in achieving the feat and moves level with Brian O’Driscoll as the second most-capped player of all time on 141. Only Richie McCaw has more.

Conor O’Shea has named a strong side, with half-back duo Tito Tebaldi and Tommaso Allan continuing the partnership they formed during the 2019 Guinness Six Nations.

Elsewhere in the backline Jayden Hayward gets the nod at full-back, with Mattia Bellini and Edoardo Padovani on the wings, while Tommaso Benvenuti and Luca Morisi form an experienced centre partnership.

Up front, Alessandro Zanni will appear in his fourth World Cup alongside Federico Ruzza in the second row, with Parisse joined in the back row by Braam Steyn and Maxime Mbanda.

And the Azzurri skipper is itching to get started after a long build-up.

He said: “I cannot wait to play on Sunday. The preparation has been long and intense and we have built up well. We have prepared for this game against Namibia in the best way possible.

“It will be important to find our feet quickly. Playing my fifth World Cup for Italy is a point of pride but at the moment I’m not thinking about it, the team is the priority.”

Italy team to face Namibia

15. Jayden Hayward (Benetton Rugby)
14. Edoardo Padovani (Zebre)
13. Tommaso Benvenuti (Benetton Rugby)
12. Luca Morisi (Benetton Rugby)
11. Mattia Bellini (Zebre)
10. Tommaso Allan (Benetton Rugby)
9. Tito Tebaldi (Benetton Rugby)

1. Nicola Quaglio (Benetton Rugby)
2. Luca Bigi (Zebre)
3. Tiziano Pasquali (Benetton Rugby)
4. Alessandro Zanni (Benetton Rugby)
5. Federico Ruzza (Benetton Rugby)
6. Braam Steyn (Benetton Rugby)
7. Maxime Mbanda (Zebre)
8. Sergio Parisse (Toulon) (c)

Replacements:

16. Oliviero Fabiani (Zebre)
17. Simone Ferrari (Benetton Rugby)
18. Marco Riccioni (Benetton Rugby)
19. Dean Budd (Benetton Rugby)
20. Jake Polledri (Gloucester)
21. Guglielmo Palazzani (Zebre)
22. Carlo Canna (Zebre)
23. Matteo Minozzi (Wasps)