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Rugby World Cup: Italy captain Sergio Parisse ready to take on Ireland

Sergio Parisse has won his fitness battle for tomorrow's crucial World Cup clash with Ireland.

The talismanic captain has finally beaten the calf haematoma that kept him out of Italy's opening two World Cup matches, against France and Canada.

The Azzurri must beat double Six Nations champions Ireland to keep their slim quarter-final hopes alive, in Sunday's Pool D battle at London's Olympic Stadium.

Italy lock Quintin Geldenhuys backed Stade Francais' highly-prized number eight to "run the show" against Joe Schmidt's side this weekend.

"We need to him to exude all his usual influence against Ireland, in what will be an extremely tough match," Geldenhuys said.

"He's just always had a presence that marks him out from other players, his leadership really driving us on.

"We need him to run the show for us against Ireland, and we all know he's fully capable."

Hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini has failed to recover from a thigh injury, so is replaced in the front-row by Andrea Manici.

Veteran and extrovert prop Martin Castrogiovanni is not involved either after struggling with an as-yet unconfirmed injury issue.

Meanwhile, Ulsterman Iain Henderson is taking nothing for granted ahead of the game, remembering Ireland's famous defeat to the Azzurri in the Six Nations two years ago.

"Maybe Italy teams before that would have rolled over after the first half," said Henderson, who came off the bench in that game in Rome.

"As we have seen with upsets and teams playing so well in this World Cup, teams aren't rolling over as easy."

"We know from that experience in 2013 with Italy you have to be constantly fighting for the full 80-plus minutes. At no point can you rest on your laurels."

Belfast Telegraph


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