Sergio Parisse claims Italy vs New Zealand would have gone ahead if All Blacks needed the points
Sergio Parisse: "If New Zealand needed four or five points against us it would not have been cancelled."
Last Updated: 10/10/19 11:18am
Italy captain Sergio Parisse believes their game with New Zealand would have gone ahead if the Rugby World Cup holders had needed to win to make the quarter-finals.
The final match in Pool B, due to take place in Toyota City, was cancelled due to Typhoon Hagibis, with England's game against France also called off.
Italy could have advanced to the quarter-finals by pulling off a massive upset and beating the All Blacks for the first time, while also securing a bonus point.
"It is difficult to know that we won't have the chance to play a match against one of the great teams," said Parisse, who has been denied a farewell game with Italy as he will retire after the World Cup.
"If New Zealand needed four or five points against us it would not have been cancelled."
With the match officially declared a 0-0 draw because of the cancellation, both teams get two points. That leaves Italy third in Pool B on 12 points behind South Africa on 15, while the All Blacks top the group on 16.
Everyone might think that Italy versus New Zealand being cancelled counts for nothing because we'd have lost anyway, but we deserved to be respected as a team
Steve Hansen's side will now face the runner-up of the hotly contested Pool A in the quarter-finals.
Parisse, however, was still disappointed that his team did not get to end their tournament on the field at the City of Toyota Stadium.
"We had the chance to play in a big stadium, against a great team," said Parisse.
"It is ridiculous that a decision of this nature has been made because it isn't like the fans arrived yesterday.
"It is ridiculous that there was no Plan B, because it isn't news that typhoons hit Japan. The alternative is Plan B. When you organise a World Cup you should have one in place."
The No 8 added that there may have been a little bit of disrespect towards the Italians, with nobody giving them a chance to beat the All Blacks, having lost all 15 of their previous encounters.
"Sure, everyone might think that Italy versus New Zealand being cancelled counts for nothing because we'd have lost anyway, but we deserved to be respected as a team," the 36-year-old said.
"If Italy and New Zealand decide they don't want to play, then fine. But as I said before, if New Zealand needed the points it wouldn't have been cancelled."
All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen said that while having the match called off was frustrating, World Rugby had no other option.
"The reality is we can't control the weather," said Hansen.
"Do we charge on and put people's lives at risk, or do we lead and make a decision that's around making sure people are safe?
"It's a no-brainer."