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Bortolami To Miss Croke Park Clash

Bortolami To Miss Croke Park Clash

Italy’s World Cup captain Marco Bortolami is to miss his side’s opening match of the 2008 RBS Six Nations championship against Ireland on February 2.

Bortolami fractured two bones in his face during Gloucester’s Heineken Cup win over Ulster at Kingsholm on Sunday, and while he will have to sit out Italy’s opening two Six Nations games against Ireland and England, he does not require surgery.

The 27-year-old underwent an examination in Milan. After which, the Italian Rugby Federation released a statement saying: “At the end of the visit, Doctor Brusati ruled out the need for surgery and believes Marco will recover in four weeks’ time.”

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Italy have a new captain for the championship in the form of back rower Sergio Parisse, who has been capped 48 times by the Azzurri since he debuted against New Zealand in 2002.

Commenting on his appointment, the 24-year-old said: “To be named captain of your country is a privilege and a huge honour and I will do everything possible to demonstrate why I deserve it.

“I have already spoken at length with the coach Nick Mallett and the team manager Carlo Checchinato. I know what my responsibilities are and I know what is expected from me.

“I’ll keep working, trying always to make the best decisions for the team on and off the field, and to give an example in the way I play, like Marco Bortolami has done up to now.”