Italy’s most-capped player Sergio Parisse will retire after this year’s Six Nations, ending his 18-year international career in front of home fans in the Stadio Olimpico.
The 36-year-old was set to retire after the Rugby World Cup in Japan but was unable to play a farewell match when Italy’s final pool game against New Zealand was cancelled because of Typhoon Hagibis.
Parisse said he would not play the entire tournament but instead feature only in home games played in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico.
“I told [Franco] Smith my desire to end my international career in Rome in front of my family, my friends and our fans,” Parisse told Corriere dello Sport.
“He agrees that I cannot end with that match cancelled by the typhoon. I will face Scotland, England or both, but I will certainly not play the entire Six Nations.
“The national team needs to develop other players with leadership skills.
“If I were permanently in a group, even more if I were a captain, I would occupy certain spaces. Instead, it is time for others to take my place.”
The loose forward is one of the world’s highest capped players with 142 caps. Only New Zealand’s Richie McCaw and Wales’ Alun Wyn-Jones securing more caps than him.
Italy’s first game will be against Cardiff in Wales on Feb.1. Their home games come on Feb. 22 against Scotland and March 14 against England.