Rome, March 15 - Italy prop Andrea Lo Cicero said Friday that he will retire from international rugby after Saturday's Six Nations match against Ireland in Rome. The popular 36-year-old became the Azzurri's all-time most capped player when he came on as a replacement in last week's 18-11 defeat in England to make his 102nd international appearance. "I've made a very tough decision. I want to take part in the 2015 World Cup," he joked before making the announcement that "tomorrow's match will be my last (with Italy)". He explained that "I think it's time to make room for the lads who will go to the World Cup". Lo Cicero, who plays club rugby in France for Paris side Racing Metro 92, is nicknamed 'Il Barone' (the baron) because his family has noble roots. He made his first appearance for the national team against England in Italy's debut Six Nations campaign in 2000. "It's my duty to stand aside, even though I'm physically in good shape and I think I could still play at a high level," added the forward, who hinted he would quit rugby altogether at the end of the season.
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di Giovanni Pastore