Zero tolerance on doping?
Of course rugby has no issue with doping or abuse of contaminated supplements. Not that anyone in the Irish Sports Council or the IRFU can confirm this with certainty because there is no testing of secondary school boys in Ireland despite compelling evidence of doping cultures in South Africa, New Zealand and the English underage game.
Last week the Times published interviews with several UK players and coaches (anonymously) when easy access to banned substances was revealed.
“It is so f***ing easy to get hold of when you’re a student,” said one player.
“I was injecting vials of testosterone, Trenbolone, stuff that yielded quick benefits. I said to people, ‘If you’re not going to get caught, then you should do it too.’ ”
The Times noted that between UK Anti-Doping (Ukad), the RFU, World Rugby, the Six Nations and European Professional Club Rugby, 623 anti-doping tests were carried out on players from England’s top two divisions last season.
In the 132 matches of last season’s Premiership, there were 16 tests. Having uncovered three positive test from 2,433 tests in 2017, World Rugby recently stated: “The programme comprised 72 per cent of tests undertaken out of competition as the International Federation continues to prioritise an intelligence and risk-based approach in elite rugby.”