Match would have gone ahead if NZ needed the points, says Italy's Parisse
TOYOTA CITY – Italy captain Sergio Parisse made no attempt to hide his disappointment at the cancellation of their final Pool B match due to Typhoon Hagibis, saying that if the All Blacks had needed to win to make the quarter-finals the game would have gone ahead.
World Rugby on Thursday cancelled Saturday's All Blacks-Italy game in Toyota City and England-France game in Tokyo, citing the potentially destructive typhoon bearing down on Japan.
Italy could have advanced to the quarter-finals by pulling off a massive upset in their game and beating the three-times world champions for the first time as well as securing a bonus point.
"It is difficult to know that we won't have the chance to play a match against one of the great teams," Parisse told reporters in Toyota City on Thursday.
"If New Zealand needed four or five points against us it would not have been cancelled."
With the match officially declared a 0-0 draw because of the cancellation, both teams get two points. That leaves Italy third in Pool B on 12 points behind South Africa on 15, while the All Blacks top the group on 16.
Steve Hansen's side will now face the runner-up of the hotly contested Pool A in the quarter-finals.
Parisse, however, was still disappointed that his team did not get to end their tournament on the field at the City of Toyota Stadium.
"We had the chance to play in a big stadium, against a great team," Parisse said. "It is ridiculous that a decision of this nature has been made because it isn't like the fans arrived yesterday.
"It is ridiculous that there was no Plan B, because it isn't news that typhoons hit Japan. The alternative is Plan B. When you organise a World Cup you should have one in place."
The number eight added that there may have been a little bit of disrespect towards the Italians, with nobody giving them a chance to beat the All Blacks, having lost all 15 of their previous encounters at an average score of 56-10.
"Sure, everyone might think that Italy versus New Zealand being cancelled counts for nothing because we'd have lost anyway, but we deserved to be respected as a team," the 36-year-old added.
"If Italy and New Zealand decide they don't want to play, then fine. But as I said before, if New Zealand needed the points it wouldn't have been cancelled."Reuters