Italy skipper Sergio Parisse has played down a training ground flare-up between Martin Castrogiovanni and Riccardo Bocchino, saying it’s a “positive thing”.
Prop Castrogiovanni and reserve fly-half Bocchino nearly came to blows during practice at Otago Stadium ahead of the Azzurri’s make-or-break World Cup Pool D game with Ireland on Sunday.
Bocchino put his hand in the prop’s face and Castrogiovanni shaped to retaliate with a punch, but pulled away.
Parisse believes the altercation proves that the passion is high in the Italy camp and also feels it’s a good omen.
“At the captain’s run, as always, we had a game of touch,” the skipper said during a press conference.
“We always play forwards against backs and I don’t know why but until now, the forwards always won.
“So today, before the game, I told the backs ‘try to beat us at least today’.
“Between Castro and Bocchino, there was a little discussion, because Castro took the ball and Bocchino wanted to stop him and so hit him in the face with his hand.
“Castro, as everybody knows, is not the kind of guy who lets things go easily, but Castro and Bocchino apologised in front of everybody at the end of the session.
“The positive thing is that we are all tense and generally when we are tense like this we play very well.
“Congratulations also to Bocchino. Not everybody would have faced Castro like that!”