Cystic fibrosis sufferer could make test debut

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Australia plays France in the second rugby test on Saturday with both teams having made a number of changes to their starting lineups, particularly the visitors.

But no player will receive more attention than if Wallabies hooker Nathan Charles, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, makes his test debut from off the reserves bench.

The 25-year-old Charles, whose life expectancy is around 38 years, takes up to 20 pills each day and has to be careful of his hygiene — "a simple cold can turn into quite a complicated chest infection," he told Fairfax newspapers Thursday.

Australian media have been reporting that Charles, who kept the disease confidential until the past few seasons, is the only athlete with the condition in the world who is playing a professional contact sport.

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