Thursday, 24 January 2008

Pain in the neck

So England's Paul Sackey's suffering from mumps? Not something you tend to hear much about these days as kids tend to be vaccinated against it, but I certainly remember having mumps as a kid. I must have been about 7 or 8 and I woke up one morning with a stiff jaw, unable to chew my breakfast. My mum, bless her, was having no malingering on her watch and sent me to school as usual, although I think she felt suitably guilty later that day when I was sent home with suspected mumps, one side of my face having ballooned out. She also got her comeuppance when she caught it from me.

I remember it being extremely painful and unpleasant for a few days and basically I had to drink soup through a straw until the symptoms subsided, so I can imagine what Sackey's going through all too easily.

The other factor is, of course, that mumps is incredibly infectious and Brian Ashton is, quite rightly, insisting that his squad is blood-tested and, where appropriate, immunised. The last thing he needs is for England's Six Nations campaign to be derailed by illness - he must be wondering if it's déjà vu all over again* after England's ill-fated trip to South Africa last summer when an already severely depleted squad were decimated by a stomach virus which left David Strettle hooked up to a drip in hospital.

The trick to being a successful coach is often just a question of being a lucky coach and I'm beginning to wonder whether Ashton used up all his luck in France in October?

* courtesy of the late, great Yogi Bera

No comments: