Charles defies science and logic
Wed, 11 Jun 2014 08:55
it's one that we should acknowledge
Wallabies hooker Nathan Charles has 'defied science and logic' to be named to make his Test debut for Australia against France this weekend.
Charles has cystic fibrosis – a genetic disease that significantly affects the lungs and the pancreas – and is the only known professional athlete in the world with the condition playing a contact sport.
On Tuesday Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie named the 25-year-old Western Force product on his bench behind Tatafu Polota-Nau, after Stephen Moore suffered a season-ending knee injury.
"If you look at the symptoms and classic outcomes of cystic fibrosis it's not a great scenario from a sporting point of view, but he seems to have defied science and defied logic," McKenzie said.
"One of the issues for instance might be putting on weight but he seems to have no problem, he looks like a hooker and he's got the right proportions and he carries and presents himself well.
"I'm glad it's out in the open and I think it's one that we should acknowledge.
"The best we could do to acknowledge it from a team point of view is to give him an opportunity on the field."
Charles was one of three uncapped players named on the bench after injuries to Moore, Sam Carter and Wycliff Palu forced three changes to the Wallabies' starting line-up.
Former captain James Horwill returned to the second row in place of Carter (ankle) and will play his 50th Test in a gold jersey.
Force loose forward Ben McCalman starts at No.8 in place of Palu (ankle), who is expected to return for the final Test in Sydney while Rebels prop Laurie Weeks and lock Luke Jones come onto the bench.
McKenzie said he expected a much more direct France if they name, as expected, imposing back-rower Louis Picamoles and 120-kilogram centre Mathieu Bastareaud.
"They'll be direct and purposeful; they have the types of players who can do that in the forwards and the backs," he said.
"I expect they'll be pretty excitable and determined at the front of the game.
"We'll have to meet fire with fire and impose ourselves."
Sydney Morning Herald
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