Rugby

Time right to spring Boks upset - Italy's Parisse

2016-11-18 22:00
Sergio Parisse (AFP)

Milan - Italy captain Sergio Parisse says the time is right to score a historic win over the wounded Springboks but warned South Africa's trademark power game will get the respect it deserves on Saturday.

South Africa face Italy in Florence looking to make amends after morale-crushing defeats to New Zealand (57-15) and England (37-21) made it five Test losses in six outings.

Parisse believes Italy, who suffered a 68-10 mauling by a New Zealand B team last weekend, could finally end their 12-game losing streak to the Boks on what will be his 121st appearance.

"I don't think the weather will influence the way we play," the Stade Francais No 8 told media on Friday, with cold and damp conditions forecast for the showdown.

"What I do know is that it will be a physical battle from the first minute to the last."

South Africa are on a rotten run and anything less than a convincing win in Florence could spell disaster for Allister Coetzee in his first year as head coach.

"A lot is being said about South Africa being in crisis, and that this is the right time to beat them," Parisse cautioned.

"But let's not get carried away. We're talking about the fourth best team in the world.

"We have a lot of respect for the Springboks. We're going out to cause them problems and to capitalise on their current difficulties.

"But we know how good a side they are. It's going to be more physical and more difficult than last Saturday.

"For the last 15 years their game has been about physical power. They managed to win the World Cup in 2007 by using the pack to demolish rivals, as well as their kicking game.

"It won't be any different tomorrow."

The Boks are buoyed by the return of flying wing Bryan Habana, who make his 124th appearance and is only three tries short of retired Japan wing Daisuke Ohata's all-time record of 69 Test tries.

Parisse became Italy's leading caps-holder last week in Rome when, in the absence of Martin Castrogiovanni - not called up for the Tests - he went one ahead of the burly prop's tally of 119.

He now sits ninth on the all-time list, headed by retired All Blacks great Richie McCaw (148), although Parisse says that accomplishment is nothing without the Azzurri fans.

"We're playing to win so we can repay the faith they've shown us every time," he said.

"We have a lot of young guys in the squad, we're going through a period of change, the way we work and we're on the right road towards the top level."

Read more on:    italy  |  springboks  |  sergio parisse  |  rugby
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