Veteran RC Toulon forward Sergio Parisse is “trying to enjoy every single moment” as he bids to end his glittering club career with a second EPCR Challenge Cup winners’ medal in Friday’s final against Glasgow Warriors in Dublin.
The 39-year-old former Italy captain, who won the trophy with Stade Français Paris in 2017, retires at the end of the season after almost 90 appearances in EPCR competitions with Benetton Rugby, Stade Français and Toulon stretching back over 20 years.
Parisse admitted that it was his “love for the game” that had enabled him to last so long in the upper echelons of club rugby.
“I am obsessed with rugby,” he told the Rugby Union Weekly podcast. “You cannot go on for such a long time if you don’t love what you do.
“When I take my bag to go to the club and get in the car, I just go and hope the moment never ends. Now the moment arrives and I am just trying to enjoy every single moment, and I am really happy to have the opportunity again to play a cup final with Toulon. For me, it is a joy, it is an opportunity and it is a privilege.
“But it is a team sport and it is not about individuals. A final is a 50/50 game. Glasgow are a good team, they deserve to be in the final and in a final it doesn’t matter if you play good rugby or not – you must win.”
Parisse, who won a record 142 caps for Italy from 2002 to 2019 and has played in five World Cups, revealed he was still available for a sixth in France later this year if selected.
“In life you can’t force things that you can’t control, and for me I know I am going to have a final of the Challenge Cup to play and that is something in my control and I can do my best,” he said.
“The Italian team, with or without me, I am going to support the team and wish them the best every time. There is no different way.
“To even have a little chance to play a sixth World Cup would be unbelievable. Whatever happens, I am just really, really grateful for all the things I had the chance to do.”