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Record-breaking Parisee keeps focus


Sergio Parisee will win his 104th cap against Scotland.

Sergio Parisee will win his 104th cap against Scotland.

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Sergio Parisee will win his 104th cap against Scotland.

Italy captain Sergio Parisse insists he will not let his record-breaking run-out for the Azzurri distract him from beating Scotland on Saturday.

The 30-year-old flanker and team-mate Martin Castrogiovanni will both win their 104th caps at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, eclipsing the previous Italian record held by Andrea Lo Cicero.

But the match has a larger importance for both teams as they battle to avoid the RBS 6 Nations wooden spoon.

Italy impressed against Wales in the first games despite going down 23-15, but suffered a harsher lesson as they lost 30-10 to France a fortnight ago.

Scotland have had it even worse, scoring just six points and conceding almost 50 in two humiliating defeats to Ireland and England.

But Parisse insists ending Italy's barren streak is more important to him than his cap collection.

He told La Gazzetta dello Sport: "The 104 caps is an important milestone for me, especially because I am sharing the feat with my great friend Castrogiovanni.

"Luckily I had very few serious injuries in my career and that has allowed me to get to this day.

"But I am putting that to one side. It is clear in my head right now that all I'm thinking about is Scotland and the win."

While Scotland have struggled to pose a meaningful threat in either of their two matches so far, they did trounce Italy 34-10 last year at Murrayfield.

And for that reason, Parisse is not taking Saturday's clash lightly, even despite the fragile nature of the Scots' morale as present and the fact the visitors have not triumphed in the Eternal City for eight years.

He said: "A victory is not a foregone conclusion. We must not make the mistake of addressing the match without the proper concentration. Scotland have put us in trouble often in the past. We have to play in the best possible way - it would be a fatal error if we do not go into the match with the right head.

"The best way to do well against Scotland is to be afraid of losing. Let me be clear - we are confident and we want to play with the right intensity for 80 minutes.

"We are playing at home in front of our large crowd. The Stadio Olimpico will be packed with 70,000 fans. We don want anything to go wrong."

But even if Italy were to lose, Parisse does not agree his side would then be favourites for the wooden spoon, saying: "Do not forget that the Six Nations does not end this Saturday, there will be Ireland and England to deal with after."

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