No man has played more matches in the Guinness Six Nations than Italy’s Sergio Parisse, with the Azzurri legend potentially in line to add to his tally in Round 4.
The long-time Italy skipper has made a remarkable 69 appearances in the Championship, needing just one more to have played the equivalent of 14 complete editions.
He made his Guinness Six Nations bow all the way back in 2004 at home to England, with the last of his appearances to date coming in a narrow home defeat to France in 2019.
As it stands, Parisse is four caps clear of his closest rival, Ireland’s Brian O’Driscoll on 65. O’Driscoll was the man at the helm as Ireland won their first Grand Slam in 61 years in 2009, and he has one more appearance than the man who imitated him a decade later, Rory Best.
Next on the list is another active player, Alun Wyn Jones, on 63 appearances – a number that could conceivably increase with the news that he is back in Welsh camp as he recovers from a shoulder injury.
Level with Jones on 63 caps in joint fourth spot is Ronan O’Gara, a third Irishman in the top five showing how consistent they have been in terms of selection in the past two decades.
So what of those countries without a player in the top five appearance makers in the Championship?
Well you have go to number ten on the list for the first Scot, hooker Ross Ford made 55 appearances, while just behind him is the first Englishman, Jason Leonard on 54.
The only country without a player in the top 15 is France. Despite the fact that he never appeared in the Six Nations, their record holder remains Philippe Sella, who started all 50 of his appearances in the Championship, one more than Fabien Pelous. Of their current side, Gaël Fickou is now up to 37 appearances, so could conceivably overtake Sella in 2025 when he would remarkably still only be 30 at the start of the Championship.
In terms of those players who could conceivably challenge Parisse in the future, Tom Curry looks a strong contender at this stage, with 18 appearances at the age of just 23, while 22-year-old Romain Ntamack has 15 appearances and Paolo Garbisi ten at just 21.
Of course they still have a long way to go to catch Parisse though, with his longevity among the best in the history of the sport.
PLAY GUINNESS SIX NATIONS FANTASY RUGBY