Rugby: All Blacks hit by mystery bug

Brodie Retallick of the All Blacks runs through drills during a training session. Much of the...
Brodie Retallick of the All Blacks runs through drills during a training session. Much of the squad has since been laid low with a mystery illness. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
Most of the All Blacks have been flattened by a violent but brief bug which has swept the squad in London.

Instead of enjoying the sights of London on their rest day, about 18 players and officials spent much of the day in bed or in the bathroom and made an already difficult week even more arduous.

Hooker Andrew Hore was cited and subsequently suspended for eight weeks, reduced to five because of his contrition and previously clean record, following his attack on Wales lock Bradley Davies in Sunday morning's (NZT) 33-10 win.

"The guys have had vomiting and diarrhoea and it has been tough," coach Steve Hansen revealed.

Some were given anti-nausea jabs by team Dr Deb Robinson who was certain the illness, while quite debilitating, would last only a day. Apparently some of the team started to feel sick in Wales and that has continued through the week.

"I am feeling a lot better today but I know the guys had a good guided tour of their bathrooms yesterday," All Blacks No 8 Kieran Read said. "I think it is a 24-hour thing."

He would not use the illness as any excuse before Sunday's final test of their end-of-year tour against England but acknowledged it had affected a large number in the team.

"It's just the way it was. It is just something we have to handle," he said.

The episode will bring back haunting memories for some of the food poisoning episode which derailed the All Blacks on the eve of their World Cup final in Johannesburg in 1995.

In subsequent claims, coach Laurie Mains believed someone had tampered with the coffee in the team room. But there are no suggestions of any dodgy tactics in the latest episode.


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