Parisse excited by Treviso return

Sergio Parisse (AFP)
Sergio Parisse (AFP)

Paris - Italy captain Sergio Parisse could not hide his delight on Tuesday at the prospect of returning to his old club Treviso in the European Champions Cup on Saturday.

The 32-year-old, who is also the Stade Francais captain, will take the French Top 14 champions to the north of Italy for their second Pool 4 match.

And the Argentine-born Italy legend cannot wait to line-up again in the stadium he graced for two seasons before he caught the attention of the Parisian giants in 2005.

"It's my old club, I know a lot of their players who I play with regularly for Italy," said Parisse.

"Since I left Treviso, it's the first time I'm going to go back to play against my old team."

He added: "It's going to be good to see friends, a town in which I spent my youth and where I enjoyed a lot of fantastic moments.

"It's going to be great. I know they're a team that technically are definitely not at our level but which, in terms of spirit and commitment will be present. They won't give an inch."

Treviso are traditionally the competition's whipping boys, having won just five matches over the last 10 years in the Champions Cup, but Stade come into this match struggling in their domestic league.

They sit fourth from bottom of the Top 14 with just four wins from 10 matches, and were beaten 24-21 at home by Bordeaux-Begles on Saturday.

They also lost their only European game so far 33-20 away at Leicester.

"I'm not annoyed but I cannot be satisfied with the results," added Parisse.

"We're in a difficult situation in the Top 14 and we had a difficult start to the season in the Champions Cup.

"Obviously there's frustration, we know that we're not playing our best at the moment.

"But I always try to take responsibility, to question myself personally before demanding anything of others.

"But anyone who knows me knows that I'm always positive.

"Our aims this season remain the same: making the top six (and hence the post-season play-offs) in the Top 14 and getting out of this pool in the Champions Cup."

Stade will be expecting to launch their European campaign with back-to-back wins over the Italians these next two weekends before in January a home encounter with Munster will provide a certain indication as to their chances of getting through the group.

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