Irae Simone was surprised by what he saw as he battled mumps but his greatest worry was what might be happening that he couldn’t see.
Simone missed the Brumbies’ round three clash with the Highlanders as the team managed a mumps outbreak and he admitted the illness rattled him.
While there is the obvious visual symptom of gland swelling, Simone said the potential long-term effects of the disease concerned him almost more.
Mumps can cause a reduced sperm count in some men and in rare cases can lead to infertility, something that at just 24 was a worrying thought for Simone.
Already a father-of-one, he said the thought that the disease might have some long-term impacts was scary.
“I’ve never experienced that,” he said.
“Was a bit scary because there’s a lot of things that come from it as well.
“It can lead to guys being infertile so that was a bit scary for me, I already have a daughter but if you’re wanting to have more kids, it was a shock to my system.
“I just tried to get better as fast as possible.
“It was a bit of a shock to my system and not a very nice look either."
Simone eased his way back into the week last week, after a “lethargic” start saw him miss the Brumbies’ Tuesday session.
“I was a bit lethargic at the start of the week, wasn’t ready to come to training on the Monday so I said to Dan, 'I need an extra day to rest up’, but I was very determined to get back into preparation',” he said.
Simone said he felt ready to go by the time Saturday night rolled around and played a pivotal role in the Brumbies' drought-breaking win over the Chiefs .
“I felt ready to come back and I hope I didn’t miss a beat,” he said.
“It was good to get around the field and I was fairly happy with my performance.”
With that game under his belt now, Simone said he was confident in team doctors to monitor his long-term health.
‘I can’t control that, it’s out of my hands, we’ve got a great doc here so we’re in good hands and he’s assessing all that stuff,” he said.
“So far, the boys have been well besides one but hopefully we can get him back this week.”
Given the roller coaster lead-in to their past two matches, the Brumbies’ emphatic win over the Chiefs across the ditch looks even more significant.
Coach Dan McKellar praised his side’s resilience after the game and Simone echoed those thoughts on Tuesday.
“It just shows how strong the culture is when it comes to that kind of thing,” he said.
“The mumps was something, we couldn’t control and what we could do was just move on, boys who were healthy trained and the boys who were sick just stayed at home.
“I think the boys had their heads down and worked hard so it didn’t matter what was being thrown just had to move on, good depth in our team rely on other boys to fill in and get the job done.”
Where a growing list of losses for Australian teams in New Zealand was a talking going this time last week, Simone said a drought-breaking win could hopefully give them confidence in their future trans-Tasman trips.
“Yeah I guess you could say that but it definitely comes down to our preparation, I thought we were confident in what we did nailed each other’s jobs, nailed our jobs and delivered on the field,” he said.
“If everyone does their job well team things look after themselves. We showed that on the weekend, so we’ll go into the next game with a bit of confidence.”
The Brumbies have a bye this week before taking on the Sunwolves in Tokyo in round six.