Bukuya hos­pi­talised as Sharks face back- row cri­sis and Raiders

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NRL -

JAYSON Bukuya is in hos­pi­tal on a drip with health is­sues re­lated to a rare prob­lem in which his im­mune sys­tem suf­fers be­cause he has ex­tremely low body fat.

The Cronulla back­rower, who is listed as 95kg, will miss to­day’s clash with the Raiders in Can­berra af­ter be­ing read- mit­ted to hos­pi­tal this week. Bukuya, 29, has lost up to 5kg since be­ing ad­mit­ted be­cause he can’t stom­ach food.

It is a com­pound prob­lem be­cause Bukuya strug­gles to add weight that would help him fight off ill­ness.

“He hasn’t been able to keep any­thing down,” Sharks coach Shane Flana­gan told The Sun­day Tele­graph. “He’s got a real- ly bad virus that has af­fected his gut and in­flamed his in­testines. He was a bit con­cerned it was more than that but all the tests and blood tests have come back per­fect.

“Hope­fully he im­proves over the week­end, he’s stay­ing in hos­pi­tal and they’ll try to get some good food into him.

“He ac­tu­ally came back to train­ing for a day or two and had a re­lapse, felt crook again, so we will make sure we don’t rush any­thing.”

Bukuya, who has played 153 NRL games and rep­re­sented Fiji at last year’s World Cup, is said to have less than 10 per cent body fat.

His virus has been so se­vere that Bukuya will have to be able to eat solids be­fore he can re­sume any kind of train­ing.

Low body fat weak­ens the im­mune sys­tem, and it is com­mon for body­builders to get sick eas­ily just be­fore com­pe­ti­tion when they get down as low as 4 per cent body fat.

Bukuya missed last week’s match against the Eels but had hoped to re­turn this week.

With Wade Gra­ham, Luke Lewis, Paul Gallen and Scott Soren­son also side­lined with in­jury, the Sharks are in the mid­dle of a back­row cri­sis head­ing to the na­tion’s cap­i­tal.

Al­though Paul Gallen is un­likely to play, Raiders coach Ricky Stu­art be­lieves he will take the field.

“We’re plan­ning that he’s play­ing,” Stu­art said.

Mean­while, Raiders prop Ju­nior Paulo faces up to 10 weeks out with a foot in­jury.

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