Hooker Nathan Charles insists he does not want to be known for overcoming cystic fibrosis as he prepares for his first Wallaby start.
Force hooker Nathan Charles insists he does not want to be known for overcoming cystic fibrosis as he prepares for his first Test start.
The 25-year-old is set to start at hooker in the first Bledisloe Cup match against New Zealand in Sydney after Tatafu Polota-Nau joined Stephen Moore on the sidelines when he was forced off during the Super Rugby final for the Waratahs.
That leaves Charles, who made his international debut in June against France, as next in line – a remarkable feat for a player who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when he was just three months old.
However, while Charles has overcome the illness to become the only known professional rugby player with the disease, it is not what he wishes to be known for.
“I guess it's got to be something that you do embrace,” he told AAP.
“Everyone's got a barrier in life and how they overcome is what they should be judged by, rather than the actual condition or barrier they have.”
That is not the only barrier Charles has had to overcome, having required knee surgery last year, but after featuring off the bench in June, he believes he is ready to make the step-up next Saturday, especially with former schoolmate Ben Alexander in the squad with him.
“Nine months ago, I was still coming back from a knee reconstruction. So this is [beyond] my wildest dreams,” he added.
“The second time around, I've felt more comfortable with the guys, the patterns, and the plays.
“Benny has been great. As a young bloke, he treated you really well and nothing's changed. He takes you under his wing.
“I couldn't think of anyone better to have by your side in that cauldron.”