Andrea Lo Cicero confirms Ireland showdown will be last international match
Italy prop Andrea Lo Cicero has confirmed his 103rd cap against Ireland on Saturday will be his last.
Last Updated: 16/03/13 2:14pm
Lo Cicero will walk out alone at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday to take the salute of the Roman crowd before packing down against the Irish.
The 37-year-old will retire from the game at the end of the season and he admitted that walking away was a painful decision.
"It's been very difficult for me to make it, but I have made it at the right time," he said.
"Italian rugby is going well and gives us hope for the future. That doesn't mean I'm not a little scared about my future. But, as I've done throughout my career I will fight on and remain optimistic for my future."
Lo Cicero overtook scrum-half Alessandro Troncon's previous record of 101 caps in last month's defeat to Wales.
He was a member of the 1999 Italian World Cup squad but did not make his international debut until the following year against England.
"I would have liked to have played in my fifth World Cup in 2015," the Sicilian added.
"However I will be 39 when the team flies to England, so it's time to leave space for the youngsters, of whom there are plenty.
"Saturday's match will be my last for Italy and at the end of the season I will quit playing rugby.
"I've had it all as an Italy player and I've had 14 unforgettable years, I want to thank all the coaches and team-mates who shared my time in the national side."
Italy captain Sergio Parisse said: "We want to finish the Six Nations strongly for Andrea because it's his last game in and Italian jersey. We want to give him a good memory for his last match."