England’s scrummaging consultant Marc Dal Maso says he won’t let Parkinson’s Disease stop him helping Eddie Jones’ bid to win the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Dal Maso – part of the French squad that tipped the All Blacks over in the 1999 Rugby World Cup semifinal – initially kept the disease a secret from Jones while the pair worked together with Japan at the last World Cup.
But the ex-hooker, whose disease was first diagnosed in 2012, described the central nervous system disorder as “my fiancee” in an interview with the Daily Mail.
“Sincerely, I was lucky to meet her. Without this disease, I wouldn’t have achieved what I have. My new fiancee is always right behind me. She has taught me to take on every opportunity in life.”
Dal Maso said his disease was manageable.
“I take 15 tablets a day. 9am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, 7pm and so on. If I don’t have my pills at the right time, I become like a statue. My body freezes.
“Is it scary? I’m not scared of it. It is who I am and you adapt. I have an alarm on my watch to remind me, so I work as normal.
“My philosophy on life has changed but my coaching is the same. I can still do lots of things. Anyway, I’ve always been… how do you say in English… f…ed in the head… crazy! It’s nothing new!’.”
The 50-year-old will balance the England job with his coaching commitments at French club Toulon.
Jones asked him to join his team over dinner in Marseille last October.
“We talked about scrums for two hours and ate seafood,” Dal Maso told the Daily Mail. “Plenty of fruits de mer.”
“Eddie gets a bit frustrated with my English but the language of rugby is like making love… it’s universal.”