Nathan Leigh Charles
- 881Wallaby Number
Few if any Wallabies have walked a tougher road than Nathan Charles.
Charles was born with cystic fibrosis, the genetically inherited condition that significantly affects the lungs and the pancreas, and as such it is no surprise that he was once described as the most remarkable rugby player on the planet.
Charles was the first person in the world to suffer cystic fibrosis yet have a professional career in a contact sport. He was diagnosed at just three months old and his family were advised that he would not live past the age of 10. Despite that warning Nathan’s parents never held him back from physical activity. Rugby was a sport played by all his family and from a young age Charles knew that is what he wanted to do.
A skilful and mobile hooker, his first contract was actually with rugby league however his selection for the 2006 Australian Schoolboys cemented his commitment to the 15-a-side game. He signed with the ACT Brumbies in 2008 but two years later headed to the Western Force as injury cover for two weeks. Those two weeks turned into seven seasons.
Charles enjoyed a breakout 2014 year which was capped by a Test debut against France in Melbourne. In 2016, Charles left Australia to join French club Clermont.
Represented Australian School against Fijian U18s and New Zealand Schools.
Selected in the Australian squad for the inaugural IRB U20s Junior World Championships in Wales.
Selected in the Australian squad for the second IRB U20s Junior World Championships in Japan.
Charles won his first Test cap off the bench when he replaced Tatafu Polota-Nau in the 2nd Test, 6-0 victory over France in Melbourne. He won his first run-on cap at hooker in the 12-12 draw with New Zealand at Sydney. In the 2nd Test against New Zealand Charles tore his pectoral muscle from the bone. The injury ruled him out for the rest of the season.