Cystic fibrosis sufferer Charles in line to make debut for Wallabies

Wallabies hooker Nathan Charles has "defied science and logic" to be selected to make his Test debut for Australia against France this weekend.

Cystic fibrosis sufferer Charles in line to make debut for Wallabies

Charles has cystic fibrosis — a genetic disease that significantly affects the lungs and pancreas — and is the only known professional athlete in the world with the condition playing a contact sport.

Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie named the 25-year-old Knox Grammar and 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 … 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 back-rower Ben McCalman starts at No 8 in place of Palu (ankle), who is expected to return for the final Test in Sydney on June 21, while Rebels prop Laurie Weeks and second-rower Luke Jones come onto the bench.

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