Parra wary of Italy ahead of World Cup opener

France must be wary of the threat of their opening rugby World Cup opponents Italy, warned scrum-half Morgan Parra on Monday.

Parra wary of Italy ahead of World Cup opener
Morgan Parra (R) has warned that Italy will present France a tough challenge in their opening World Cup clash. Photo: Frank Fife/AFP

Parra, who played in the 2011 World Cup final which France lost 8-7 to New Zealand, said the Italians would go for broke against them next Saturday as the French would be the one team the Italians would fancy upsetting.

Parra made the remarks despite the fact the Italians will be missing their one world class player Sergio Parisse, who is recovering from surgery to drain a haematoma, a swelling of clotted blood in his left leg, last Monday.

“Of course we must be afraid,” said Parra speaking at the team's base in Croydon, south of London.

“Italy will throw everything into this match. If they can sow seeds of doubt in one team I think they would choose us.
“What is more it is the first game for both sides in the tournament.

“Thus it is going to be a very tough game,” added the 61-times capped 27-year-old.

Parra, who is not a certain starter as coach Philippe Saint-Andre has opted for Toulon's Sebastien Tillous-Borde in the last two warm-up matches the wins over England and Scotland, said there was no point projecting forward as to how France would fare.

“The best way for things to go wrong is to look too far ahead,” said Parra.

“One has to have the ambition of being world champions but first it is imperative to get out of the pool.”

“That phase starts with this match, which is a huge trap.”

The French will go on to face minnows Canada and Romania before the climax, a potential table-topping decider against Six Nations champions Ireland, who Saint-Andre has yet to beat in four meetings

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Italy’s Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report

Ex-PM Matteo Renzi would like to see former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi become prime minister of Italy, a party source told Reuters on Sunday.

Italy's Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report
Matteo Renzi. Image: Andreas Solaro/ POOL / AFP

“I would say that is one of our proposals,” confirmed the source, who declined to be named.

The Italian government collapsed last week when PM Giuseppe Conte resigned. The former coalition allies are currently trying to come to an agreement and sort out their differences.

The centre-left government had been in turmoil ever since former premier Matteo Renzi withdrew his Italia Viva party earlier this month, a move that forced Conte to step down this week.

During the past year, Renzi frequently criticised Conte’s management of the pandemic and economic crisis.

Italy’s La Stampa newspaper also reported on Sunday that President Sergio Mattarella was considering Draghi for the prime ministerial role. However, Mattarella’s office promptly denied this, saying there had been no contact between them.

So far, there has been no comment from Draghi, who hasn't been seen much in the public eye since 2019.

Italy's president, Sergio Mattarella, gave ruling parties more time on Friday to form a new government, after the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. 

Coalition parties Italia Viva, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement must come to an agreement to allow the government to heal. 

Renzi, a former prime minister himself, has pubilcly stated that he does not want to talk about who should lead the next government at this stage, reasoning that the parties need to agree on a way forward first.

“Any effort today to fuel a discussion about Draghi is offensive to Draghi and above all to the president of the republic,” Renzi said in an interview published on Sunday with Corriere della Sera.

A senior Italia Viva lawmaker also told Reuters that “If the president gives a mandate to Draghi, we would certainly support this”. 

Renzi, whose party is not even registering three percent support in opinion polls, quit the coalition over Conte’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his plans for spending more than 200 billion euros from a European Union fund to help Italy’s damaged economy.

READ ALSO: Why do Italy's governments collapse so often?