Parisse tips France to win Six Nations
January 23, 2013
Jacques Brunel - France and Italy are like cousins%]
Italy skipper Sergio Parisse has singled out France as favourites for the Six Nations but admits that he has been impressed with England in recent times.
France and Italy meet in their opening clash of the 2013 tournament on February 3 and the Parisse's side will hope to replicate their memorable win against Les Bleus that they managed back in 2011. But while Parisse believes France will be the pre-tournament favourites for the title, he has tipped England to push them close.
"Definitely I believe France are the favourites. They make good decisions," Parisse said. "England beat the best team in the world in the autumn so everyone expects them to dominate the Six Nations. They are very structured and try to dominate the opposition physically.
"Against New Zealand they showed some interesting things, but they don't have the capacity to adapt their game like the French. Everything is well organised with France, but their players have the liberty to adapt and they are the best at doing that.
"England are more structured and follow instructions. They find it harder to adapt than France. But they are still one of the best teams in the world."
Italy will have the benefit of three home matches in this Six Nations - they welcome France, Wales and Ireland to Rome - and Parisse insists their ambition must extend beyond being gallant losers.
"It's no long enough for us to play well, to be improving and be involved in good matches," Parisse said. "The gap between us and the other teams is closing, but for the credibility of the team we need results.
"We've been improving since we've been in the Six Nations and this year because we have three games we hope to do well. We don't have fear of any team in the Six Nations and we want to confirm our progression by winning matches."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch
Tom Hamilton reports back from the launch of the Guinness PRO12 where there is a renewed sense of optimism with all of the off-field changes to the league
So much for the great Australian revival, writes Greg Growden. It now has the potential of going off the rails after the capitulation at Eden Park
The latest Week in Pictures takes in photographs from the Rugby Championship, the Top 14 and the southern hemisphere domestic scene