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Parisse praise for O'Driscoll

Italy captain Sergio Parisse described fellow RBS 6 Nations icon Brian O'Driscoll as being synonymous with Irish rugby ahead of Saturday's clash at the Stadio Olimpico.

O'Driscoll will be playing his 60th and potentially final match of the championship with his future beyond his likely presence on the Lions' summer tour to Australia yet to be decided.

"When you talk about Ireland and rugby, you can't not talk about Brian O'Driscoll," Parisse said. "He's one of the best centres in the history of the game. This will be his final match in Rome and he will want to finish with a win."

He added: "I wish him luck in the rest of his life, but he has done many things for Ireland and rugby.

"For me when I think about a centre, I think about Brian O'Driscoll over all the rest."

Both Italy and Ireland could finish the Six Nations as high as third place or as low as bottom, with events in Paris where France host Scotland shaping their final position.

The Azzurri, who fell agonisingly short of upsetting England on Sunday, have not beaten Ireland since joining the championship in 2000 - a record Parisse wants to rectify.

"Sometimes when we play big teams we get a little bit scared and we were like that before England at Twickenham," the Stade Francais number eight said.

"But we played a really good match and were very close to them in terms of the result. It will be better tomorrow because we are playing at home and will have more chances to beat Ireland.

"Last time we played them here in the Six Nations we only lost to them late on because of a drop goal. They're one of the teams that we haven't been able to beat so we know it will be difficult, but if we show the same attitude that we did at Twickenham, we should get the result."


From Belfast Telegraph