Parisse puts his hands up after Italy miss out on piece of history
France 23 Italy 21
Italy captain Sergio Parisse shouldered the blame for their late defeat by France on his enormously broad shoulders after the No 8 was guilty of wasting a shot at victory with an ill-advised drop-goal effort in the dying seconds at the Stade de France.
With Italy trailing 23-21 as time expired, the Azzurri constructed a series of phases to move into kicking range, although replacement fly-half Kelly Haimona had yet to drop back into the pocket as the visitors pushed forward in hope of a first Six Nations victory in Paris.
Having already scored a try of his own, and proving again why he will go down as Italy's greatest player when he finally retires, Parisse must have thought that the stage was set for him to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
The problem is that, New Zealand's Zinzan Brooke aside, forwards are not renowned for their kicking, and Parisse's hasty effort was an ugly snatch that let Les Blues off the hook.
"It was a split-second decision that I may have made a little too quickly," Parisse said after the match. "I was in the right position, so I chose to take the drop-goal opportunity myself.
"I took my responsibilities, as I always do. I could just as well have succeeded. I did not, that's it, my apologies. Maybe we could have kept playing to get a penalty."
Italy have beaten France twice in recent years, but their 2011 and 2013 successes both came in Rome and a win in Paris would have represented their greatest result since joining the tournament in 2000.
"I am disappointed, because I obviously meant to make that drop goal," Parisse added.
"When it works, it's great; when it doesn't, people will always say it wasn't the right choice.
"The one who takes that responsibility has to face the good consequences when he succeeds and the bad ones when he fails."
Independent News Service