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Rugby World Cup
Parisse plays down training bust-up
ESPNscrum Staff
October 1, 2011
Italy's Sergio Parisse shares a joke with Martin Castrogiovanni, Italy training session, Villabassa, Italy, July 19, 2011
Martin Castrogiovanni shares a joke with Sergio Parisse © Getty Images
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Italy captain Sergio Parisse insists a flare-up on the training paddock between two team-mates shows just how fired up his charges are for their World Cup defining showdown with Ireland tomorrow.

Prop Martin Castrogiovanni was struck by fly-half Riccardo Bocchino during a game of touch rugby in the customary eve of match run-out at Otago Stadium. Tension is mounting ahead of a Pool C collision that will see the winners progress to the quarter-finals and the losers return home.

But rather that view the flashpoint as a sign of discord in the camp, Parisse believes it is evidence Italy are ready to produce something special. "At the captain's run, as always, we had a game of touch," said the Stade Francais No.8. "We always play forwards against backs and I don't know why but until now, the forwards always won.

"So today, before the game, I told the backs 'try to beat us at least today'. Between Castro and Bocchino, there was a little discussion, because Castro took the ball and Bocchino wanted to stop him and so hit him in the face with his hand.

"Castro, as everybody knows, is not the kind of guy who lets things go easily, but Castro and Bocchino apologised in front of everybody at the end of the session. The positive thing is that we are all tense and generally when we are tense like this we play very well.

"Congratulations also to Bocchino. Not everybody would have faced Castro like that!".

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