HAVING succumbed to one bug, Dave Kimberley was this week hoping to beat another so he could make his debut for Barnstaple.
The back-row forward was struck down by sickness on Sunday night but was confident of lining up for Barum for the first time in their National League Three South West opener against Redingensians at Pottington Road on Saturday.
Kimberley had not expected to be on a rugby field in the first weekend of September after leaving Exmouth at the end of last season.
But the rugby bug is a difficult one to shake off.
"I have two small children, aged under 3, and it got to the stage where I wanted to spend a bit more family time," said Kimberley, 31.
"I have played rugby a lot since I was a teenager and have been with my wife since I was 19 and always put rugby first.
"But I watched the Lions and the Super 15 and thought I could probably still be playing."
He was finally worn down by Steve Perry, his former Cornish All Blacks team-mate and now joint head coach at Barnstaple.
"Steve and I are very good friends," said Kimberley. "We signed for the All Blacks on the same day and shared a house.
"He kept on and on at me (about joining Barnstaple) and I said no a lot. He said, 'Come on up, you will enjoy it'.
"The game plan and style of rugby they are looking to play is exactly the sort of thing I think is the way rugby is going."
That style and the Barum Roar were two key factors in Kimberley's decision to shelve his retirement.
"The crowd at Barnstaple is phenomenal and reminds of being at Launceston. It was one of the factors (in joining Barnstaple) because it's nice to play in front of a crowd," said Kimberley, who was a key player in Exmouth's promotion to National League Two South last season.
"Exmouth is a brilliant club and I had a great three years there. I think they will do very well in the league above.
"(But) that's the one thing Exmouth is missing – a large crowd."
From his time at Exmouth, Kimberley knows how to win in National Three but he expects it to be an even harder competition this season.
"I would say it's definitely going to be more competitive," he said.
"In the last three years there have always been one or two teams at the bottom you were guaranteed to beat.
"This year is looking far different, there are no whipping boys in there.
"Barnstaple have a very tough start to the season (against Redingensians and Weston-super-Mare) and if we can get something out of those first few games we can hopefully move on from last year."