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Tuesday 25, Jul 2017

  Decision To Drug Test Schoolboy Rugby Players Appreciated By Former WADA Chief

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The decision of Drug Free Sport New Zealand to test schoolboy rugby players for the first time has kicked off a debate centered on ethics, social responsibility, and attitude.

David Howman, the former Director General of the World Anti-Doping Agency, welcomed the move to test leading Secondary School Rugby players of New Zealand. Howman remarked this is a very important initiative and added a lot of the problems in doping occur in the stages where young athletes are trying to break through into the elite nature and they are tempted to do that by others who should know better but a lot of doping goes on at that level.

The former WADA chief said he is really pleased at the initiative from DFSNZ and the willingness he thinks of the school principals to take this on. Howman also commented that the step taken by DFSNZ was a vital educational tool and deterrence.

The pioneering move will be hosted at the top four first XV finals series in Palmerston North during September. This decision was taken after concerns were expressed about the use of supplements by players, and whether banned substances are being used in the quest to reach the professional ranks.

Consent to testing will not be required from parents as the tournament is held under the auspices of New Zealand Rugby who are signatories to the World Anti-Doping Agency code. The urine samples will be collected and analyzed by the WADA-accredited laboratory in Sydney. School age athletes have long been tested by Drug Free Sport New Zealand in other sporting codes, such as Olympic or Paralympic events.

The anti-doping tests will be conducted for a restricted number of substances. The purpose of this initiative is to catch those who cheat in an attempt to reach the top level rather than someone who takes a medicine to help with health conditions such as asthma.

In a statement, Drug Free Sport New Zealand said the opportunity to apply for an exemption permitting the medical use is available in the rare event that a positive test results from properly administered medication. It was further said that normal results management process and sanction regime would be applied on a case-to-case basis. The statement of DFSNZ also reads that Drug Free Sport New Zealand had identified certain elements within the rugby environments of schools that possibly suggest a significant potential for doping to occur. It was commented that this includes research conducted by Otago University on behalf of DFSNZ showing extensive and uncontrolled supplement use, along with the knowledge that doping (and in particular anabolic steroid use) is occurring in comparable environments overseas, notably in South Africa and the United Kingdom.

The South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) reported in 2015 that nearly half of all doping convictions against rugby players over the 10 years up to 2014 came from the under-19 level and the country’s annual Craven Week schoolboys rugby tournament. SAIDS reported that the vast majority of positive tests of rugby players across all levels were for anabolic steroids.

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Sunday 05, Feb 2017

  Doping Ban Of Amateur Rugby Union Player Doubled By CAS

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The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has doubled the two-year ban imposed on Luke Willmott, a rugby union player who was previously banned in 2016.

Willmott, from Arnold in Nottingham, was initially banned for five years by an independent Rugby Football Union (RFU) Anti-Doping Panel, for attempted trafficking of Human Growth Hormone (hGH). The amateur rugby union player, who was previously registered with Derby RFC, appealed against the decision and his ban was reduced to two years by an independent appeal panel. An appeal against this decision was made in February 2017 to the CAS by World Rugby and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) after which the highest court of sports announced its decision. A sanction of four years was subsequently agreed by World Rugby, WADA, the RFU, and Willmott.

The case dates back to June 2013 when 180 vials of “Jintoprin”, which is a commercial name for HGH, were seized at the border. This package was addressed to Luke Willmott, who at the time was Captain of Derby RFC.

UK Anti-Doping interviewed Willmott On July 3, 2014. Willmott was charged by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) on July 23, 2014 with having committed an Anti-Doping Rule Violation for “Use or Attempted Use of a Prohibited Substance” pursuant to World Rugby Regulation 21.2.2. The explanation of Willmott resulted in an additional charge under World Rugby Regulation 21.2.7, “Trafficking or Attempted Trafficking in any Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method” being brought. The case was then heard by a panel convened by the Rugby Football Union.

UKAD Director of Operations, Pat Myhill, had then remarked that the Willmott case is an example of how important our work with law enforcement partners is. Myhill added we by intercepting this package were able to stop the potential supply of prohibited substances into the United Kingdom. Myhill went on to add that a crucial aspect of this case is that the end user thought they were buying Human Growth Hormone (HGH) but it was determined that the substance was not HGH after analysis by the Drug Control Centre.

  The UKAD Director of Operations also had remarked then that this is increasingly common, especially in relation to the production and supply of illicit substances such as HGH and steroids and also had commented that his is a major concern to UKAD, as not only is it a huge risk to clean sport, but it is a very significant risk to health.

UKAD Chief Executive, Nicole Sapstead, remarked after the CAS verdict that substances such as human growth hormone and steroids continue to pose a real and significant threat to both clean sport and to the health of our young people. Sapstead also added that trafficking is a serious offence and, alongside our partners, we will look to impose the maximum sanction on individuals who choose to break the rules. UKAD Chief Executive also said that identifying and targeting the supply of serious substances, such as steroids and human growth hormone, is a critical part of preventing the growing problem of image and performance enhancing drugs.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Doping Ban Of Amateur Rugby Union Player Doubled By CAS

Friday 14, Jun 2013

  School Failed To Tell Authorities About Doping

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School Failed To Tell Authorities About Doping

A Cranbrook School student is under investigation for serial steroid abuse by the police and the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority after the boy admitted to taking performance enhancing drugs while representing the private school in rowing and rugby.

However, the school failed to inform sports authorities of the year 12 student’s admissions in February 2011, a day after an Independent Schools Rowing Association (ISRA) regatta. An investigation also revealed allegations the director of rowing of the school, was told about the suspected steroid abuse months before the admissions of the student but failed to act. Carroll was recently elected president of ISRA and his predecessor, Philip Winkworth, said the winning VIII crew of Cranbrook at the 2011 regatta, which included the student, should have been disqualified and remarked if you go to these regattas you have got an obligation to be clean.

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority and Rowing Australia only became aware of the case after being contacted by the parent of another student in the school’s 2010-11 rowing squad. Cranbrook, in Bellevue Hill, had breached its obligations to report sports doping, Rowing Australia chief Andrew Dee said and they should have made us aware or ASADA aware and added it’s within their role as custodians of young people to make sure they’re looking after the best interests of their students. Dee called on ISRA to investigate whether there was any substance to claims Carroll failed to act on warnings about suspected steroid abuse within his squad.

A former school parent revealed they discussed such concerns with Carroll thrice, dating back to November 2010 wherein doubts were raised about the rapid muscle gain and sudden significant improvement on the indoor rowing machine, or ergometer. In February 2011 regatta in Canberra, the boy sent text messages to other squad members boasting about the “gear” he was taking.

Cranbrook headmaster Nicholas Sampson remarked it was the policy of the school that the use of illegal drugs was a very significant breach of disciplinary expectations and he defended the school’s actions, saying the matter appears to have been handled well and with justified humanity. When confronted on February 28, 2011, by then Cranbrook headmaster Jeremy Madin, the student admitted having taken steroids over several months and was removed from the rowing squad and forced to admit his drug use to other members of the senior rowing squad. The student also agreed to undergo regular drug tests with a doctor, Madin said. However, the student within weeks was playing rugby for Cranbrook’s first XV and later toured New Zealand with the team.

Madin, who retired in 2012, said the school’s response was as always open, transparent, and frankly exemplary. Meanwhile, ASADA chief Aurora Andruska met Mr Madin and senior school management to advocate the need for anti-doping education in the curriculum. World Anti-Doping Agency president John Fahey recently called for Australian students to be taught about the dangers of performance enhancing drugs and said children were putting their health at risk by taking anabolic steroids and sports supplements.

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Monday 13, May 2013

  Doping In Rugby Ignored

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Doping in rugby ignored

People are turning a blind eye to doping in rugby in the same way that was once the norm in cycling, former France hooker Laurent Benezech has claimed.

Speaking to Le Monde Benezech, Benezech remarked the proofs of doping in rugby are in front of everyone but no one seems to be interested. The French hooker remarked rugby is in exactly the same situation that cycling was before the Festina affair, the infamous case in 1998 when a Festina team doctor was stopped by customs officers at the France-Belgium border and was found to be carrying various doping products. After this, several doping investigations happened and many cyclists admitted that they were doping.

The comments of Benezech come just a week after former France scrum-half Jean-Pierre Elissalde claimed amphetamines were widely taken in the sport during the 1970s and 1980s. A few months back, a high-ranking French anti-doping official Francoise Lasne claimed rugby had returned the highest proportion of positive dope tests in France in 2012.

Benezech, who was capped 15 times from 1994 to 1995, remarked one just needs to look at the statistics to see the evidence and blamed the clubs for being complicit in abetting doping by authorizing the use of banned substances for therapeutic reasons. He went on to say that there is the legalization in some clubs of the use of authorizations given by the doctors, the famous AUTs (authorizations for therapeutic usage), otherwise players would test positive and added the authorizations for therapeutic usage have developed in the sense that the doctor justifies the use of banned substances for medical reasons when it is clear that they are used to improve performance.

Rugby authorities had to stop burying their heads in the sand or the systematic use of doping would continue, Benezech said and added that we will not be able to avoid endangering the health of sportsmen as long as we remain in the dark and refuse to be transparent.

The former French rugby union footballer played first at Sporting Club Appaméen, until 1985 and then moved to Stade Toulousain, where he would stay until 1989, moving to Racing Club de France, that he represented for seven years. After spending a season at Harlequins, in England, he returned to play for RC Narbonne, where he would finish his career in 2000. Laurent Bénézech won the title of French Champion with Racing Club de France, in 1990 and was also selected for the 1995 Rugby World Cup finals, playing a single game in the 54-18 win over Côte d’Ivoire. Laurent also published a book, Anatomie d’Une Partie de Rugby (2007).

Recently, the International Rugby Board Anti-Doping Advisory Committee reaffirmed its commitment to the global fight against drugs cheats and endorsed the exhaustive approach of rugby to testing and education. The IRB undertook 1,542 In and Out of Competition controls across IRB tournaments and events in 2012, including the HSBC Sevens World Series, Rugby World Cup 2015 qualifiers, men’s and women’s Tests and Age Grade Rugby and was praised by WADA for its extensive testing and educational campaign.

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Sunday 10, Mar 2013

  Supplement Results In Six Month Sanction For Philippines Player

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Supplement Results In Six Month Sanction For Philippines Player

A six-month sanction has been received by Philippines player Chris Hitch as a result of a positive finding for the prohibited substance Methylhexaneamine (MHA) following a doping test at the Hong Kong Sevens tournament in March 2012, according to the International Rugby Board.

It was revealed that Hitch started taking a Dietary Supplement during April 2011 branded as “Mesomoiph” that he purchased from a health food shop in Newcastle, Australia. According to the player, he took the recommended dose of the supplement in lieu of “NODoz” (a caffeine tablet) which the Team Physiotherapist (Mr Raper) distributed to players prior to matches and prior to the Philippines first match of the Tournament, against Canada on 23″ March 2012 as he was suffering from tiredness arising from the demands of his occupations as a scaffolder, delivering furniture and appliances, and his intense fitness and training schedules.

Hitch provided a urine sample (Code Number 2693335) during the In-Competition Test conducted on behalf of the IRB. He failed to declare when providing the sample that he had taken a supplement prior to the match. Subsequently, the sample returned an Adverse Analytical Finding for the substance Methylhexaneamine (“MHA”). The player accepted he had not applied for a therapeutic exemption allowing him to use the substance. Chris Hitch also disclosed he had signed the Team Member Consent Form prior to the commencement of the Tournament, on 21st March 2012 and admitted the anti-doping rule violation that he attributed to his ingestion of the supplement.

On the WADA Prohibited List, Methylhexaneamine is classified as a specified stimulant and can be found in some nutritional supplements. The stimulant has been responsible for a number of positive cases over the last year within Rugby and other sports and the Philippines player had consumed the supplement Mesomorph.

This case highlights the clear need for players to pay due consideration to the contents of any dietary or nutritional supplement and ensure that they are familiar with the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list via the International Rugby Board or their Union’s website and only the player can be responsible for what they consume, IRB Anti-Doping Manager Tim Ricketts said.

A zero-tolerance stance is operated by the IRB towards drug cheats in sport and all rugby players are reminded to thoroughly research the ingredients of any supplements before purchasing or consumption to ensure that they do not contain prohibited substances and in particular the various names Methylhexaneamine is known by.

    MHA is known by a number of different names including Methylhexaneamine; Methylhexanamine; DMAA (dimethylamylamine); Geranamine; Forthane; Forthan; Floradrene; 2-hexanamine, 4-methyl-; 2-hexanamine, 4-methyl- (9CI); 4-methyl-2-hexanamine; 1,3-dimethylamylamine; 4-Methylhexan-2-amine; 1,3-dimethylpentylamine; 2-amino-4-methylhexane; Pentylamine, 1, 3-dimethyl-; pelargonium graveolens; pelargonium extract; geranium, geranium oil or geranium root extract.

This non-exhaustive list provides examples of some commercial supplements which contain, or have been identified in certain countries to contain, MHA or its variants: Hemo Rage, Jack3d, OxyElite Pro, 1.M.R., Mesomorph, Rocked, Crack, USN Anabolic Nitro, Ergolean Amp 2, DynaPep, Core Zap, C4 Extreme, Nutrimax Burner, NitroX, IBE XForce, Fusion Geranamine, ClearShot, Black Cats, and Musclespeed.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Supplement Results In Six Month Sanction For Philippines Player

Friday 08, Mar 2013

  IRB Anti-Doping Committee Reaffirms Commitment to Level Playing Field

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IRB Anti-Doping Committee Reaffirms Commitment to Level Playing Field

The International Rugby Board Anti-Doping Advisory Committee, in its annual meeting in Dublin, reaffirmed its commitment to the global fight against drugs cheats and endorsed the exhaustive approach of rugby to testing and education.

Chaired by former Federazione Italiana Rugby President Giancarlo Dondi, the Committee brought together leading experts in the field of Anti-Doping and sports science to review the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code and WADA International Standards. It also considered the latest developments in the critical area of Anti-Doping and reviewed the IRB’s 2012 Anti-Doping activities and 2013 objectives to ensure that the sport remains at the forefront of the fight against drugs cheats. The meeting of two days also included a brief visit paid by the WADA Director General David Howman, who outlined the year 2013 objectives of the World Anti-Doping Agency and took time for answering questions from the Committee.

The integrity of the sport is founded on fair play and the promotion of a level playing field for all, and the IRB and its 118 Member Unions are fully committed to a zero-tolerance stance towards drugs cheats in Rugby, IRB Anti-Doping Advisory Committee Chairman and IRB Council Member for Italy Giancarlo Dondi said. Dondi added that the sport undertakes an extensive and rigorous annual program of Anti-Doping testing and athlete education in order to promote a level playing field for all our athletes built on Rugby’s character-building values of integrity, discipline, respect, solidarity and passion. He went on to remark that these meetings were extremely productive and while we cannot be complacent in this important area, we reaffirmed our continued commitment to deliver leading Anti-Doping programs for Rugby around the world.

The International Rugby Board Anti-Doping Advisory Committee unanimously supported the increase in sanctions under the WADA Code from two years to four years for those caught cheating with intent, since that will strengthen education and deterrence. The Committee considered proposed changes to the WADA International Standards with the issue of whereabouts being a central consideration for team sports.

The IRB undertook 1,542 In and Out of Competition controls across IRB tournaments and events in 2012, including the HSBC Sevens World Series, Rugby World Cup 2015 qualifiers, men’s and women’s Tests and Age Grade Rugby and was praised by WADA for its extensive testing and educational campaign. The International Rugby Board will continue to apply a default one hour notice slot for off-season or injury periods where the player is not involved in team activities which enables testing of the players in its testing pool year round.

The proposed changes to the WADA whereabouts requirement will hopefully lead to a more harmonised approach for Rugby globally as it should remove the situation where players are under different whereabouts criteria and consequences to their teammates or players representing another nation, former Argentina captain and WADA Athlete Committee representative Felipe Contepomi said and added that National Anti-Doping Organisations should be cognizant of the athletes’ request to create harmonisation of whereabouts rules within a sport globally rather than within one jurisdiction where they happen to live.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: IRB Anti-Doping Committee Reaffirms Commitment to Level Playing Field

Friday 07, Sep 2012

  Ban For Queensland Rugby Player

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Ban for Queensland Rugby Player

Decision of the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) to impose a four-year ban on Sunshine Coast Stingrays amateur rugby player and coach, Francis Bourke, for the possession and attempted trafficking of growth hormone releasing peptide-6 (GHRP-6) was recently acknowledged by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA).

The ban slapped on Bourke by the Rugby Union was backdated to the date of his provisional suspension, which means that he cannot participate as an athlete or support person until 25 January 2016 in any sports that have adopted a World Anti-Doping Agency compliant anti-doping policy. Such participation includes, but not limited to management, administration, playing or training as part of a team or squad, coaching, and officiating.

Bourke was found guilty of possession and attempted trafficking of growth hormone releasing peptide-6 (GHRP-6). GHRP-6 is not approved for human use in Australia and the Prohibited List of WADA Code categorizes GHRP-6 under ‘S2: peptide hormones, growth factors and related substances, and prohibited at all times. Breaching the code can invite penalties including a lifetime ban for second offences. The WADA Code has permitted sanctions of four years – even lifetime bans – under Article 10.3.2 since 2009 but this power has only rarely been imposed by WADA’s signatories.

ASADA, as a government body, works closely with the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (Customs and Border Protection) for investigating the trafficking of prohibited drugs, medications and substances.

A package with GHRP-6 was seized at the Sydney Gateway Facility on 28 November 2010 by the Customs and Border Protection and it notified ASADA. The matter was referred to the Australian Rugby Union following an extensive investigation by ASADA as a potential violation of its anti-doping code.

The performance enhancing drug is used by budding and professional sportsmen to stimulate promote muscle, bone, and organ growth. It has the ability to stimulate the pituitary gland for secreting an increased amount of growth hormone following intake besides stimulating the protein, insulin-like growth factor 1 (known as IGF-1).

The World Anti-doping Agency  noted with interest the four-year ban on the player and WADA President John Fahey said the association has been saying for some time now that the Code sanctions are tougher than many people appreciate but they to be appropriately imposed by its signatories to make them effective. The WADA President remarked that the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) has demonstrated that it is realistic to come down hard on a person whose offense is more serious than those which usually result in a sanction of two years.

Fahey added that the ban of four years imposed on the amateur rugby player-coach also indicated that how seriously a member of an entourage, in this case a coach, will be dealt with if he or she is involved in supplying substances to athletes. Mr. Fahey added that this case is a good example of the growing efficacy of intelligence sharing between anti-doping agencies and other law enforcement authorities that have become an important pillar for the anti-doping community. He further said the World Anti-doping Agency would continue to look for ways to improve this aspect of anti-doping.

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Friday 06, Apr 2012

  South African schools start war against drug abuse

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Hundreds of schools across South Africa have started subjecting pupils to drug and breathalyzer tests for curbing an alarming increase in drug abuse.

The SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) has warned it will be testing players for anabolic steroids on the eve of schools’ annual Easter rugby festivals.

“If a child tests positive, we send him or her for a blood test as well,” Benoni High School headmaster Jake Ceronio said. “Because we test regularly, there is a fear factor,” he said.

Saturday 14, Jan 2012

  Steroids claim fume former All Blacks

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Jack Ralston, the New Zealand Rugby Union’s head of sales and marketing between 1997 and 1999, made an allegation in his yet-to-be-released biography, The Sports Insider, the Press reports.

The steroid-taking allegations on Former All Blacks fumed the team.

“He has cast aspersion on a lot of people and I can say that during my time with the team I saw none of that,” ex-captain Taine Randell told Fairfax.

Friday 30, Dec 2011

  Two All Blacks accused of steroid use

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In a new book by Jack Ralston, the former coach of Olympic gold medalist Hamish Carter, two All Blacks in the 1990s have been accused of taking steroids.

“People might be stunned by this but I know at least two All Blacks in the 1990s who responded to demands that they bulk up by taking steroids,” Ralston revealed in an early edition of his biography The Sports Insider.

Ralston added he “never saw” any All Black ingesting steroids.

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