Six Nations: Sergio Parisse back to captain Italy against England

RBS Six Nations - England v Italy

  • Venue: Twickenham
  • Date: Sunday 10 March
  • Kick-off: 15:00 GMT

Coverage: Watch live from 14:30 on BBC One, BBC One HD, mobiles and online; listen on BBC Radio 5 live; text commentary on BBC Sport website and mobiles. Highlights BBC Two Sun 23:35, repeated BBC Two Mon 13:30.

Italy have recalled Sergio Parisse to face England in the Six Nations on Sunday after the captain's ban for abusing a referee was cut by 10 days, meaning it will now expire on Saturday.

He is one of seven changes, plus one positional, from the loss to Wales.

Sergio Parisse the history maker

Sergio Parisse became the youngest number eight in international history when, in 2002, he made his debut as an 18-year-old against New Zealand in Hamilton.

Robert Barbieri joins him in the back row, Alberto de Marchi comes in at loose-head and Quintin Geldenhuys and Joshua Furno form the second row.

Luciano Orquera returns at fly-half, with Gonzalo Garcia back at centre.

Parisse, 29, was initially banned for 30 days, with a further 10 suspended, after being sent off for insulting a referee during a French Top 14 match last month.

However, the active part of his suspension has now been cut to 20 days, leaving him free to face leaders England at Twickenham.

The return of the number eight, winner of 93 caps and scorer of the first try in Italy's shock win over France, will be a huge boost for the Italians.

Six Nations table

Played Won Points Difference Points

England

3

3

36

6

Wales

3

2

19

4

Scotland

2

1

2

2

Ireland

2

1

2

2

Italy

3

1

-36

2

France

3

0

-25

0

Parisse, who was absent during Italy's 26-6 defeat by Wales in their last game, had initially been expected to miss the final three matches of the tournament.

But the influential Azzurri skipper was cleared to play against both Grand Slam-chasing England at Twickenham, and then Ireland on the final weekend, following a successful appeal to the French Rugby Federation.

"Sergio is an important element for this group, and we could not be happier," said Italy team manager Luigi Troiani after the ban was cut.

Italy team to face England: 15. Andrea Masi (Wasps) 14. Giovanbattista Venditti (Zebre) 13. Gonzalo Canale (La Rochelle) 12. Gonzalo Garcia (Zebre) 11. Luke Mclean (Treviso) 10. Luciano Orquera (Zebre) 9.Edoardo Gori (Treviso) 8. Sergio Parisse (capt, Stade Francais) 7. Robert Barbieri (Treviso) 6. Alessandro Zanni (Treviso) 5. Joshua Furno (Narbonne) 4. Quintin Geldenhuys (Zebre) 3. Martin Castrogiovanni (Leicester) 2. Leonardo Ghiraldini (Treviso) 1. Alberto De Marchi (Treviso).

Replacements: 16. Davide Giazzon (Zebre) 17. Andrea Lo Cicero (Racing Metro) 18. Lorenzo Cittadini (Treviso) 19. Antonio Pavanello (Treviso) 20. Francesco Minto (Treviso) 21. Simone Favaro (Treviso) 22. Tobias Botes (Treviso) 23. Tommaso Benvenuti (Treviso).

England: 15. Alex Goode (Saracens, 9 caps); 14. Chris Ashton (Saracens, 32 caps), 13. Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 19 caps), 12. Brad Barritt (Saracens, 14 caps), 11. Mike Brown (Harlequins, 14 caps); 10. Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers, 55 caps), 9. Danny Care (Harlequins, 39 caps); 1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 7 caps), 2. Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 7 caps), 3. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 38 caps), 4. Joe Launchbury (London Wasps, 7 caps), 5. Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers, 15 caps), 6. James Haskell (London Wasps, 48 caps), 7. Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, capt, 15 caps), 8. Tom Wood (Northampton Saints, 16 caps)

Replacements: 16. Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints, 45 caps), 17. David Wilson (Bath Rugby, 24 caps), 18. Joe Marler (Harlequins, 8 caps), 19. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 18 caps), 20. Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers, 36 caps), 21. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 31 caps), 22. Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby, 1 cap), 23. Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby, 2 caps)