Troncon retires and sets sights on coaching role

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The Independent Online

The former Italy scrum-half Alessandro Troncon has retired from all rugby and hopes to become a coach. Italy's most-capped player had already said he would retire from international rugby after the World Cup but has now quit completely.

Troncon, 34, who made his 101st Italy appearance as stand-in captain in the 18-16 defeat to Scotland which eliminated the Italians from the tournament, said: "It has been difficult to decide but I have understood that I will not be able to give what I want. I really like training but with old age I have discovered my limits. I would like to... try to be a coach. I don't have a coaching badge, only experience on the field, and I know that is not enough."

Troncon featured in four World Cups and played club rugby for Mirano, Treviso and Clermont Ferrand.

Dan Parks, meanwhile, has been voted Scotland's player of the tournament by his team-mates. The 29-year-old stand-off featured in every match for Frank Hadden's team during their campaign which came to an end with last Sunday's 19-13 defeat to Argentina in the quarter-finals.

The Australia-born Parks started four of Scotland's five games and came on as a replacement in the defeat to New Zealand at Murrayfield, when Hadden picked a weakened team.

The Glasgow Warriors fly-half, who was among Scotland's try-scorers in their 56-10 pool victory over Portugal and kicked six goals from seven, finished ahead of Rory Lamont and Simon Taylor in the voting. Scotland polled their squad after each match, with the outcome based on the aggregate result.

At home, Gloucester look to extend the only unbeaten record in the Premiership today with coach Dean Ryan insisting there is much more to come from the early pacesetters.

Ryan's side have won all four matches so far to open up a three-point lead over Harlequins, who take on Bath at the Rec, but that has not stopped the coach ringing the changes for the visit of Sale. The Scotland scrum-half Rory Lawson goes straight into the side after returning from World Cup duty to partner the recalled Ryan Lamb and there are also starts in the front row for Nick Wood and Andy Titterrell.

"We have always said we will select a side we believe is right for each individual game," said Ryan. "But it doesn't matter who we select, it is up to us to impose our game on the opposition.

"If we can create some fluidity then I think we can be dangerous. We created opportunities last week we didn't finish off and that is something we are looking to rectify.

"Our squad is getting stronger all the time and our returning World Cup players are key to that. It is up to them to fit in with what we are trying to build – we have made a very encouraging start and that is something we want to maintain."

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