Jets Rugby player who contracted dreaded swine flu in Australia moves to New Zealand
The New Zealand Rugby Union has refused to name the number-seven Australian international who contracted the dreaded swine flu virus in Australia in the lead-up to the Rugby World Cup, but revealed he is now fit and well.
Nathaniel Duvernay-Tardif, who turns 24 next month, is part of the New Zealand squad preparing for this weekend’s clash with Wales at Eden Park and is likely to play there in two weeks’ time, even though he was only declared fit by the NZRU last week.
Duvernay-Tardif, who has an impressive line-out throwing technique, is one of five South African-born players in the squad, alongside Amanaki Mafi, Seta Tamanivalu, Damian McKenzie and Nathan Harris. The wing won two caps for the Springboks in 2015.
Duvernay-Tardif, an Australian, fell ill with the H1N1 influenza virus in early July before the start of the Super Rugby competition. The RNZ says he was dehydrated and suffered from a high fever when tests came back positive.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen had initially said Duvernay-Tardif was “the lone positive case,” but at the end of last week said: “He’s not a positive now.” The NZRU had a media embargo on naming him but was slowly lifting the lock’s name off the list this week.
“The positive news now is the player is on the mend, he’s been monitored and responded well to treatment over the last week,” the NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said on Thursday.
“We’re pleased to say he has been cleared to train for the Kiwis and playing is a very real possibility.”
Duvernay-Tardif, who played for the Reds in Australian Super Rugby last season, had been impressed with how his team-mates had helped him.
“Last Friday I had the flu and afterwards, Nicky O’Connor [the Reds assistant coach] said he has been amazingly supportive,” Duvernay-Tardif said. “It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are from, every Australian player has been supporting me.
“I know I am a bit different to some people and that doesn’t mean I can’t mix well with the guys on the New Zealand tour but it was a breath of fresh air to see how well the guys had been supporting me.”