Italy captain Parisse signs for Toulon

Toulon (France) (AFP) –


Italy captain Sergio Parisse has signed a one-year contract with Toulon, the Top 14 outfit announced Monday.

The 35-year-old Argentina-born No 8 quit Stade Francais, with whom he had been since 2005, on Friday after reportedly falling out with South African coach Heyneke Meyer.

"Highly keen to take up new challenges, the Italian backrower will join Toulon after the World Cup in Japan," Toulon said in a statement.

"An undisputed leader on the field and in the changing room, Sergio Parisse is determined to finish his career at the highest level."

Parisse will add to his 138 international caps when he leads Italy to the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year.

At the tournament -- Parisse's fifth World Cup -- the Squadra Azzurra will face world champions New Zealand, South Africa, Namibia and Canada in Pool B.

Parisse said he was "extremely proud" to have joined Toulon.

"I said to myself that with my experience I could offer something to this young team," the Italian said.

Head coach Patrice Collazo added: "As soon as we talked about it, I felt his willingness to take on a final challenge and his desire to play at Toulon."

Toulon, who finished ninth in the Top 14 last season with just 12 wins from their 26 games, will head into next season with Parisse, France international Charles Ollivon, Argentina's Facundo Isa and ex-All Black Liam Messam all vying for the No 8 spot.