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Ban threat for Italy captain Parisse

Italy face being without talismanic captain Sergio Parisse when their Six Nations campaign resumes against Wales after the number eight was sent off while playing for Stade Francais on Saturday.

Parisse was dismissed during Stade's French Top 14 game against Begles-Bordeaux for allegedly insulting the referee, and any resulting suspension would see him miss next weekend's Stadio Olimpico clash.

Parisse, 29, claimed he did not insult the referee and posted on his Twitter account: "Sorry to my teammates and fans for the red card, which I find too harsh! I never insulted Mr.Cardona."

Italy coach Jacques Brunel has called veteran flanker Mauro Bergamasco into his squad as cover for Parisse. The 33-year-old was left out of the panel for the games against France and Scotland.

Italy have won three of their last four homes games in the Six Nations, and humbled France 23-18 in their opening fixture of this year's tournament before being convincingly beaten 34-10 by Scotland at Murrayfield.

Wales were beaten by Ireland in the first round of games but ended a run of eight-straight defeats with victory over France in Paris.


From Belfast Telegraph