Rugby, Parisse leads Toulon to success in the Challenge Cup

The former blue captain also scored a try in Dublin in the final against Glasgow. Then he girds himself with the tricolor, a sign of love for Italy

He and a tricolor flag. Sergio Parisse, on the lawn of the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, has just dragged his Toulon team to victory against the Scottish side of Glasgow in the final of the Challenge Cup – the second oval European cup – with an unequivocal 49-13. And the former blue captain celebrates (also) by wearing the banner he has waved so many times. Parisse, in front of 31,514 spectators at the Irish stadium, played yet another great game, playing as a third starting center for 69 minutes. Also signing a diving try under the posts, one of six for the team: Toulon thus won the continental tournament for the first time after four unsuccessful attempts in the final.

The exclusion

For Sergio it was probably the last international match of his career. He will play again next week, in the last round of the transalpine Top 14. Then the story of his career will come to an end. Yes, because the man born in La Plata to parents from L’Aquila – as everyone knows – is not on the list of 46 players taken into consideration by coach Kieran Crowley for the next World Cup, scheduled in France between September and October. The choice appears incomprehensible, also in the light of the Dublin test. But certainly not only for that. Incomprehensible precisely for a technical question, the reason Crowley gave to explain the choice. It would be inelegant to mention the names of his favorite players, people of non-Italian training and never seen in the national team, regardless of roles. But it is clear that many are not worth Parisse. Although on September 12 he will be 40 years old. Even if the last of his record-breaking 142 appearances for Italy (92 as captain) dates back to four seasons ago and at the Japanese world championship. Having him in the group would not have been a tribute to the champion that he is and has been, it would not have been the way to give him a sixth participation in the World Cup, like no one ever. Nor would it have served to obtain results which, group composition in hand, seem already written. Rather he would have done a lot of good for the growth of the team and the many young people who make it up: Parisse will always remain an example. And it’s a real shame that, apart from the technical staff, who else could or should have understood it, evidently let it go.

A gentleman

Fans, enthusiasts, insiders (even abroad) don’t agree. Sergio responded to the exclusion as he always has: with elegance. In the national team, ever since Hamilton’s debut in New Zealand on 8 June 2002 (what an honor and what a fortune to have witnessed it in the stands), he has always put his face into it. Even in the most difficult moments. Even when he could have turned away. That Italian flag on the Aviva Stadium lawn at the end of the games is the confirmation of his love for Italy.