"An inspirational leader" - Retiring Sergio Parisse ranks his five toughest opponents - Ruck

“An inspirational leader” – Retiring Sergio Parisse ranks his five toughest opponents

Italy’s legendary captain Sergio Parisse confirmed that he will be retiring from all rugby at the end of the current season but still hopes to make a final international appearance during the 2023 Six Nations.

The Toulon number eight, who is now 38, has delayed hanging up his boots to sign with Toulon for one more year.

“Yes, it’s certain because you mustn’t push things too far, especially at the physical level because mentally, I feel very fresh,” he said ahead of Sunday’s Top 14 match against Toulouse.

“Everyone knows their body and knows what they are capable of doing. I knew I had the mental and physical strength to make a final season. It was also a discussion with the club.

“At 38, there are questions that arise. With the club, we all agreed that it was a good decision. Now it’s up to me to have fun with every game.”

DID YOU KNOW? Sergio Parisse was born in La Plata, capital of Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Italian parents. 

SERGIO PARISSE: Toughest Opponents

#5. David Pocock (Australia)

The flanker, who was capped 83 times over an 11-year Wallabies career, opted against returning to his Japanese Top League club, the Panasonic Wild Knights, for another season in 2020. Already well-known for his activism on social justice and environmental issues, the 32-year-old will now dedicate his time to conservation.

Parisse said: “Nobody tested me physically as much as Pocock. He was physically the perfect rugby player.”

DID YOU KNOW? Born in Zimbabwe, Pocock moved to Australia as a teenager and played for the Australia national rugby team