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Parisse is aiming to be out of this world

Star power: Sergio Parisse
Star power: Sergio Parisse

By Graham Davies

Italy skipper Sergio Parisse has exchanged messages with astronaut Luca Parmitano after World Rugby arranged for the keen Azzurri supporter to have a live feed of today's World Cup clash with South Africa beamed up to the International Space Station.

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European Space Agency astronaut Parmitano has taken over command of the ISS this week but, despite floating more than 250 miles above Japan, he will be able to watch his compatriots take on the Spingboks.

In what will be the first Rugby World Cup match broadcast in space, World Rugby is providing a special feed for Parmitano so he can see Conor O'Shea's men.

"Rugby is a fantastic game that celebrates friendship and teamwork," said the astronaut in a message to Italy No.8 Parisse.

"Just like you have to work together to achieve a try, we have to collaborate with a team of astronauts and ground personnel from all over the world in order to achieve our objective."

Italy top Pool B and captain Parisse, who will be making his 142nd Test appearance against South Africa to become the second most capped player of all time behind Richie McCaw, plans to shoot for the stars.

Parisse - due to retire after this year's tournament - replied: "It is an incredible feeling to know the Test will reach the space station. We hope to share the joy with you and hope to gift you some beautiful emotions."

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