PARIS (AP) — Italy will be without captain and No. 8 Sergio Parisse for the rest of the Six Nations after he received a 30-day ban for insulting a referee in a French Top 14 game.
Parisse was banned for 40 days, 10 of them suspended, by the French National Rugby League on Wednesday. He can't play again until March 18. He was sent off on Saturday for insulting a referee while playing for Stade Francais. He denied the charge but the LNR disagreed.
The absence of its one world-class performer will be a blow to Italy's hopes of an improved standing in the tournament. Italy, which has beaten France and lost to Scotland, still has to play Wales, England and Ireland. In anticipation of a possible sanction against their inspirational skipper, Italy added the 93-cap flanker Mauro Bergamasco last weekend.