Italy captain Sergio Parisse will miss the rest of this season’s RBS Six Nations Championship after being banned for insulting a referee.
The Stade Francais No 8 landed a 40-day punishment from French league disciplinary chiefs yesterday – ten days of which were suspended – following his sending off in Stade’s game against Bordeaux-Begles last weekend. Ligue Nationale de Rugby announced on their official website that Parisse is sidelined until 18 March.
He will miss Italy’s match against Wales in Rome on Saturday, plus games with England and Ireland next month.
He subsequently denied that he had insulted referee Laurent Cardona, but a Ligue Nationale disciplinary panel in Paris saw things differently.
Parisse was by far the most influential performer in an Italian side that started its Six Nations campaign by beating France, only to suffer defeat against Scotland.
His absence is a hammer-blow for the Azzurri, with coach Jacques Brunel now forced to make a back-row reshuffle and appoint a new skipper for Italy’s remaining Six Nations fixtures.
Brunel had already called 93 times-capped Mauro Bergamasco into his 31-man squad, but Parisse’s loss will be keenly felt.
Parisse, 29, has the right to appeal, with any protest having to be lodged by Saturday, although any appeal hearing would not take place until early next week.
At a Wales press conference on Monday, Wales assistant coach Shaun Edwards said he was not surprised at Parisse back-chatting to a referee. Edwards said: “It’s nothing he hasn’t done before. Last Friday we were watching the tape from our match against Italy last year, and he came out with profanities in the referee’s earshot and was saying what he was going to do to one of our players.”
After facing Wales this weekend, Italy meet Six Nations title favourites England at Twickenham on 10 March, then host Ireland six days later.
Wales, meanwhile, have released nine players back to their regional teams as they prepare for Saturday’s match in Rome.
The list includes Scarlets flanker Aaron Shingler, who was on bench duty when Wales beat France in Paris 11 days ago.
Shingler is joined by Scarlets colleagues Matthew Rees, Josh Turnbull and Tavis Knoyle, while Scott Andrews, Josh Navidi and Andries Pretorius return to Cardiff Blues and Ryan Bevington and James King head back to the Ospreys.
The Blues and Ospreys are both in RaboDirect PRO12 action tomorrow night, hosting Connacht and Edinburgh respectively, with the Scarlets visiting Leinster on Saturday.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 12 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North east