Italy talisman Sergio Parisse must still pass two more fitness tests before being cleared for Sunday’s vital World Cup clash with Ireland.
Captain and lynchpin Parisse finally joined Italy’s World Cup camp this week, and jumped straight into training on yesterday. The 32-year-old Stade Francais number eight remains confident his calf haematoma will clear in time for him to start Sunday’s Olympic Stadium clash.
Italy’s bosses are taking no chances however, even though the Azzurri need a victory against Ireland to keep their slim quarter-final hopes alive.
“He hasn’t been training for three weeks and will now be trying to play a massive match on Sunday,” said Italy’s team doctor Vincenzo Ieracitano. “He’s happy to be here and confident he will be able to play.
“He has been continuing the physiotherapy that he was undergoing in Paris.
“This afternoon he will have physiotherapy to get him over his journey from Paris, and then he will join in training in the gym and on the pitch.
“Tomorrow he will definitely train with the rest of the squad, then on Thursday he will go through a fitness test in the gym.
“And if that goes well we will see how he gets on in training and then we will have another check to see if he can play.”
Ireland for their part fully expect Parisse to start the Olympic Stadium battle, with hooker Seán Cronin preparing for “an even bigger threat” thanks to the presence of the classy number eight.
“He’s absolutely huge for them,” said Leinster hooker Cronin. “I’m sure he’s going to give them a huge lift.
“You can see they raise the game with him in the side.
“So we know them very well, and with him on board we know they’re going to be an even bigger threat.
“He’s their go-to man in a lot of areas in their play.”