Parisse to lead the Azzurri
Italy head coach Nick Mallett has named Stade Francais loose forward Sergio Parisse as the new Italy captain.
By Joe Drabble
Last Updated: 18/01/08 3:23pm
Italy head coach Nick Mallett has named Stade Francais loose forward Sergio Parisse as captain ahead of the 2008 RBS Six Nations tournament.
The Italian Rugby Federation announced the appointed on Friday, and the Argentine-born player will take over the captaincy from lock Marco Bortolami.
Gloucester player Bortolami skippered the Azzurri 37 times - and although he is still part of the squad, the FIR believed it was time for a change of captain.
"Sergio Parisse is an athlete of personality who is respected by team mates, referees and opponents," Mallett told federugby.it.
"These features are fundamental to carrying out the role of national team captain.
"We are looking to the future and we are ready to start a new chapter in the history of Italian rugby."
Parisse has racked up 48 caps for Italy, and the 24-year-old number eight is delighted with the appointment.
"It's a great joy [to be named as captain] there's no use denying it," he said.
"I'm ready to assume my responsibilities. I've spoken at length with Mallett and team manager [Carlo] Checchinato and I know my duties, the reasons the coach made his choice and what is expected of me.
"I'll keep working, trying always to make the best decisions for the team on and off the field, and to give an example in the way I play - like Marco Bortolami has done up to now."
Italy will look to build on last year's best-ever Six Nations showing - Parisse will lead his side out for the first time against Ireland in Dublin on February 2nd.