Italian rugby icon Sergio Parisse was left in tears after being shown a red card for a spear tackle against Toulouse in a Top 14 match. The incident was made even more difficult for Parisse as he had lost his father just days before.
Parisse, who has enjoyed a long and illustrious career in both club and international rugby, was visibly distraught as he left the pitch following the incident. The veteran No.8 had been playing for Toulon against Toulouse when he was shown a straight red card for a dangerous tackle on Pierre-Louis Barassi in the 31st minute.
The incident was a blow for the 39-year-old, who had been hoping to help Toulon secure a win against their bitter rivals. However, his emotions were clearly heightened by the recent loss of his father, which had left him understandably shaken and could be seen sobbing in the changing rooms.
Given the difficult circumstances, Parisse received support and encouragement from his teammates and coaches.
Despite the ugly incident, Toulon won the game 17-6 at the Stade Mayol.
Parisse officially retired from international rugby in 2021 after a 17-year career representing Italy. Widely regarded as one of the best number eights of his generation, Parisse won 142 caps and played in five World Cups, making his international debut in 2002 against New Zealand.
He went on to captain his country for 67 Tests and was a stalwart of Italian rugby but also enjoyed a long and distinguished career with Stade Francais, before transferring to the red and black of Toulon.
With 69 appearances, he is the most-capped player in Guinness Six Nations history.