Doping is not widespread, says top rugby figures

Scottish rugby coaches and players have dismissed claims by a teenage player who recently remarked that doping is widespread in the amateur version. The coaches and players called on the player making the allegations and anyone else with suspicions to help them uncover evidence of cheating.

The 19-year-old, said to be a player for one of the ten National League clubs, claimed that players throughout the club games were taking some kinds of substances. These claims are rumored to be associated with the recent suspension handed to Melrose teenager Sam Chalmers, who was banned for two years after he admitted that he tried using anabolic steroids to cope with demands to make himself bigger and stronger.

The young Scottish player, who made doping allegations on BBC, remarked he would say roughly two people per team are on some sort of substances, which could be fat-stripping supplement or a bulking supplement or something like that, from the Premiership to the Championship. He added when people go off-season and they bulk up, you hear people chatting that they’re on something or there’s other signs as well. He went on to remark that it is almost like a quick fix because they want to be like a professional so they want to get there as quick as they can and they don’t really care what they do to their health. He also remarked they just want to be there to be the best they possibly can. You see guys who are getting picked, and they’re not the most skilful players, but they’re huge and you think, ‘that’s the only reason you’re picking them, because they’re big’.

Leading club coaches John Dalziel and Peter Laverie insisted that use of anabolic steroids was not common. Dalziel said he was shocked to learn about the positive test of Chalmers. He added these players are now given regular education from their clubs and the SRU, which includes nutritionists telling them about what they need to be fit, strong, to replace lost protein and vitamins from training, and to put on weight if they need to while being healthy, and we have professional medics that explain the dangers of doping.

Laverie remarked any kid in Scotland who gets involved at age-grade level, even in the large initial squads, receives the full SRU education program on drug abuse, nutrition and many other parts of the game, and it is repeated every year, when each squad comes together. He added that club players now regularly come and ask about inhalers or medicine, and are used to having things checked. Laverie also said he meets with all Premiership coaches regularly and none would condone players taking illegal substances and added he has to say that he has never seen any signs of drug and alcohol abuse in club rugby.

Gregor Townsend, the head coach at Glasgow Warriors, remarked Scottish rugby prides itself on being very thorough in testing for drugs and making sure that if there is anyone out there taking them there is no way of getting round the testers. Townsend said he was shocked when he heard about Sam and added this is a total surprise to me.

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