Milan (AFP) – Italy rugby captain Sergio Parisse revealed on Thursday he has undergone surgery to remove an abdominal hernia bringing to an end a “nightmare” season for the Stade Francais veteran.
“From a sporting point of view the worst since I’ve been at Stade Francais,” said Parisse after Italy earned a third consecutive wooden spoon in the Six Nations with club side Stade Francais battling against Top 14 relegation.
And the 34-year-old said that despite struggling all season with various injuries he waited until his Parisian club were saved from relegation before undergoing surgery on Monday which will rule him out for four months.
“It’s over, my nightmare season,” Parisse, who has played 292 games for Stade Francais since joining from Treviso in 2005, told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I had started the season with a (knee) tear. I returned for the November Tests, but with a swollen knee and then had a meniscus operation.
“I wasn’t in form for the Six Nations.”
Italy’s most capped player with 134 appearances, Parisse earned the unwanted record of a 100th Test defeat in their final game against Scotland.
“I’m not happy about how I played, but I’ve never complained and I’m not looking for excuses,” he conceded.
Parisse said Stade Francais had been hit by losing coach New Zealander Greg Cooper mid-season with South African Heyneke Meyer taking over.
But he insisted there was optimism under new German billionaire owner Hans-Peter Wild that they can return to the form which saw them win the Top 14 as recently as 2015.
“We’re very calm concerning the future,” he added. “Mr Wild is a gentleman of great class and great humility.
“He has brought to the club a German mentality at an organisational level with medium and long-term planning, the club needed not only economic solidity but also structure and organisation.”
Parisse had been rested for Italy’s three-match tour of Japan next month as they build towards the 2019 World Cup.
“The tests in Japan will be difficult but I’m confident we have the players to have great matches and take home three wins.
“That would do everyone good.”