Parisse rallies side ahead of Scotland clash
March 16, 2012
Sergio Parisse will hope to lead his charges to victory © Getty Images
Italy No.8 Sergio Parisse has rallied his side ahead of their wooden spoon decider with Scotland calling on his charges to win the match for Jacques Brunel.
The Azzurri are without a win in Brunel's first tournament in charge since he succeeded Nick Mallett and must beat the Scots to avoid the wooden spoon. Parisse's team came close to defeating England in their only previous home match in the tournament, losing 19-15 in no small part to Charlie Hodgson's charge-down try.
Now the Italians are keen to finish with a flourish against an opposition they beat at home in 2008 and 2010. Parisse said: "It's a fundamental match. There's not just the desire to play a great match but there's also the pressure to get a positive result.
"The reality is that both Scotland and ourselves have played good matches in this Six Nations. We've both been close to getting good results but at the end we find ourselves in this last match playing (to avoid) last place.
"It's not disappointing to play them for last place, it's a match like all the others, and even more so because it's at home and we have a responsibility to play well in front of our fans. Against England we were very bitter so tomorrow we have the possibility to play Scotland.
"It's very important for our group and for Jacques because it's not easy to start with a Six Nations tournament like this. A win could help him continue his work with more serenity."
Italy have only once recorded more than one win in the Six Nations since joining the tournament in 2000. Parisse is determined the record is improved upon in future. "It's very important for us to be more consistent as a team," he added. "I think we can match anyone in the Six Nations but we have to be consistent.
"We need to be able to put in good performances week in week out."
Italy were today forced into a late change after hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini failed to recover from a foot injury. Ghiraldini's place in the side has been taken by Aironi's Fabio Ongaro, taking the number of changes to seven following the 24-3 loss to Wales in Cardiff last week.
Giovambattista Venditti replaces Luke McLean on the right wing while Tommaso Benvenuti will start at centre. Benetton Treviso's Edoardo Gori replaces Fabio Semenzato at scrum-half while Simone Favaro drops to the bench with flanker Robert Barbieri taking his place in the starting XV.
Aironi lock Marco Bortolami replaces Cornelius Van Zyl to earn his 93rd cap. Leicester Tigers prop Martin Castrogiovanni has recovered from a fractured rib that saw him miss the last two games and will start this weekend.
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