Sergio Parisse fighting to be fit for Ireland showdown

Italy talisman Sergio Parisse faces a battle to recover from a neck injury in time to face Ireland in Rome on Saturday.

The 33-year-old number eight underwent an MRI scan on Sunday night following Italy's 33-7 RBS 6 Nations defeat to Wales at the Stadio Olimpico.

Italy's medics believe Parisse has avoided serious injury, but must still prove his match fitness this week.

Head coach Conor O'Shea will doubtless give the 122-cap player as much leeway as possible to recover.

"Parisse yesterday underwent an MRI scan after trauma to his neck that he reported from the match," said Italy team manager Luigi Troiani.

"The examination did not show anything special, and already this morning he showed great signs of improvement.

"Tomorrow we hope to get him back on the pitch, to start to prepare for the match against Ireland."

Italy seized an early lead against Wales in Rome in Sunday's Six Nations opener, Eduardo Gori's converted try stunning Rob Howley's side.

Jonathan Davies, Liam Williams and George North ran in second-half tries, however, as Wales powered home for a comfortable victory.

Former Ireland full-back O'Shea has made no secret of the size of his task with the Azzurri, but masterminded a stunning 20-18 win over South Africa in the November Test series.

Now the former Harlequins boss will coach a Test match team against his native Ireland for the first time, and he will be desperate to have captain and superstar Parisse fit and firing.

Forwards coach Giampiero De Carli insists Italy pushed Wales into a contest for three quarters of Sunday's clash - and now challenged his men to raise their level once again when Ireland pitch up in Rome.

"The team, up to a quarter of an hour from the end, was in the game and this is a fact," said De Carli.

"But we must take the result for what it is and look at the good things we have done and are doing."

More on this topic

France's Yoann Maestri faces misconduct complaint after chaotic end to Six Nations clash with Wales

Stuart Hogg wins Six Nations Player of the Championship for second year running

Rankings show Conor Murray in major battle with Rhys Webb for Lions scrum-half place

There are two Irish players shortlisted for the Six Nations player of the championship

More in this Section

Road Bowling: Buckley pips Callan in Munster intermediate thriller

Ballinora make up for slim loss last year

St Pat's revive European ambitions with win over Derry

Ireland goalkeeping coach Alan Kelly: Mark Travers has the mark of quality


Are these the comfiest knickers ever?

Film-makers at Schull Fastnet Film Festival reveal their favourite movies

The Skin Nerd: Is Kylie Skin set to be a kult klassic or miss the mark?

GameTech: Minecraft now set to take over the real world

More From The Irish Examiner