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Friday 31, Mar 2017

  England Legend Fears Over Doping In Elite Rugby

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Former England captain and Coach Martin Johnson has remarked the use of banned performance enhancing drugs is a major concern for the Rugby Union.

Johnson blamed the switch from the amateur to professional era for it. The former England captain remarked the game is professional now and we live in a different time where kids can see a livelihood and a good livelihood out of doing it, then you have got to be very careful.

Johnson believes there is a reason to be worried about the increasing use of banned substances with 14 out of 42 athletes banned in the past two years by UK Anti-Doping coming from Rugby Union in England and Wales. Johnson, who led England to 2003 World Cup victory, remarked he never felt anyone around the international teams was using drugs during his playing days. The former England captain said things are more available today and knowledge of it is more widespread because of the internet. Johnson added people are using drugs, by all account, for vanity reasons.

The former World Cup winning captain’s concern is likely to bring the prevalence of steroid use in the club game back into the game’s spotlight. The Leicester star, who captained the 1997 Lions on the victorious tour of South Africa, distanced himself from a return to rugby. Johnson said he is presently enjoying having ‘a normal life’ outside of rugby and added you must have a burning passion to stay in the game.

Johnson won five Premiership titles with Leicester and two Heineken Cups before adding the World Cup with England in 2003. The former No 4 turned out 362 times for the east Midlands clubs and picked up nine trophies in a 17-year career at Welford Road. Considered as one of the greatest locks ever to have played, Johnson became the new England team manager on 1 July 2008 to replace the previous manager Brian Ashton, but left the post in November 2011 after the quarter final defeat of England at the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Regarded as one of England’s greatest ever players, Johnson celebrated the first of his 5 league titles in 1995. He was formally appointed Leicester’s captain after returning from the victorious 1997 Lions tour. He continued to play for Leicester until 2005.

The former England captain made his test debut against France in January 1993 when he was unexpectedly summoned to replace the injured Wade Dooley. Later, he went on to become part of the side that won the 1995 Grand Slam. Under the leadership of Johnson, England moved away from being a forward-dominated side after Lawrence Dallaglio was caught in a News of the World sting operation. Johnson became the only man to captain twice when he was again asked to lead the Lions tour to Australia in 2001. Johnson became the third England captain after John Pullin and Will Carling to beat Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand after beating the All Blacks 31–28 in 2002.

In 2009, former England and Bath prop Matt Stevens was the last high profile player to be banned from the sport when he tested positive for cocaine.

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Monday 11, Jul 2016

  Two Rugby Union Players Banned By UK Anti-Doping

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UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) has announced two Rugby Union players have been suspended from all sport following an Anti-Doping Rule Violation.

Dan Lancaster, a rugby union player from Lincolnshire, was suspended from all sport for four years following an Anti-Doping Rule Violation for attempted use of anabolic steroids. This case dates back to April 2015 when 300 ampoules of “Testapron Testosterone Propionate” that is a commercial name for anabolic steroids were seized at the UK border. The package was addressed to Dan Lancaster, who at that time was registered at Cleethorpes RFC.

Lancaster was interviewed on May 7, 2015 by UK Anti-Doping and was charged by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) 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 on June 5, 2015. The case of Dan Lancaster was heard by a panel convened by the Rugby Football Union and it was determined that the rugby union player was guilty of the Anti-Doping Rule Violation. The RFU-convened panel imposed a period of ineligibility of three years and six months as a result of his prompt admission. The reduction in ban applied by the RFU panel was appealed by UK Anti-Doping and it was upheld by an RFU Appeal Panel and the ban on Lancaster was increased to four years. He is banned from all sport from 5 June 2015 to midnight on 4 June 2019.

UKAD Director of Operations, Pat Myhill remarked the Lancaster case highlights how important our work with law enforcement partners has become. Through our close working relationships with UK Borders and local police forces, we are able to deter and prevent doping through the interception of packages, stemming the supply of prohibited substances into the United Kingdom. Myhill also commented that the ease of access to substances through the internet is a major concern for UKAD. All too often we see sports people, and members of the public, purchasing substances online with no idea of what the substances contain and also added that he would encourage anyone who has information about the purchase or supply of illicit substances to contact us in confidence via Reportdoping.com.

In another development, Luke Willmott was suspended from all sport for two years following an Anti-Doping Rule Violation for Attempted Trafficking of Human Growth Hormone (HGH). 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 Wilmott, who at the time was Captain of Derby RFC. A RFU-convened panel determined that Willmott was guilty of the Anti-Doping Rule Violation and imposed a period of Ineligibility of five years but his ban was reduced on the appeal of Willmott to two years due to the admissions he made in evidence. UKAD Director of Operations, Pat Myhill said a crucial aspect of this case is that the end user thought they were buying Human Growth Hormone (HGH) but it was determined after analysis by the Drug Control Centre, King’s College London that the substance was not HGH.

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Saturday 16, May 2015

  Steroid Abuse Still Prevalent In Rugby, Says Craig Chalmers

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Craig Chalmers, the former Scotland and British & Irish Lions fly-half, has remarked he believes doping is increasingly prevalent and widespread in rugby union.

Craig also said he fears the rugby authorities are not doing enough for addressing the issue of doping in the wake of his son Sam Chamlers’s positive test. Sam tested positive for Stanozolol (Winstrol) and Methandienone (Dianabol) and put the blame on Dragon Nutrition’s Pro-SD. Both Methandienone and Stanozolol are listed as anabolic androgenic steroids in the list of prohibited substances by the World Anti-Doping Agency. However, UK Anti-Doping could not hold Dean Colclough, owner of Dragon Nutrition Supplement Company, as Pro-SD did not contain either Winstrol or Dianabol. The 19-year old rugby star who played for the Scotland Under-20s squad received a doping ban of two years.

Craig Chalmers said the thing with doping in rugby is that it goes on, he knows it goes on. The former British & Irish Lions fly-half also said he had not really thought about it that much before Sam’s case but then he began asking some people about the stuff that Sam had taken and they seemed to say that it was very common. He went on to remark that Sam will come back from this episode more mature and a wiser person from it but he has done it all on his own and commented that Scottish Rugby have shown no support at all. Craig Chalmers also said Sam’s former club Melrose have been pretty supportive but they can only do so much and remarked Scottish Rugby have shown no support at all. He commented there has not been any kind of attempt to try to find out why Sam did it and that disappoints him a lot because he’s young, he made a mistake and he thinks that if he were the head of a sport in a country and he had seen what Sam had done, he did want to know why, and what made him do it.

The former Scotland rugby international said players want to play for Scotland, Edinburgh or Glasgow. If they are not big enough or strong enough, the big thing is you’ve got to work hard and added Sam made a very, very poor decision and he has lived with that for the last 23 months and is just about to come out of that.

In a statement, Scottish Rugby said we as a governing body continually endeavor to educate players at all levels of the game on the consequences and repercussions which come with taking banned substances, from both a health and a sporting perspective. It was further added that Scottish Rugby also works closely with our anti-doping partners, UK Anti-Doping and World Rugby, to ensure that our policies are highly effective in cracking down on the use of banned substances. Scottish Rugby also remarked that it has two anti-doping educators, who will be hosting roadshows, starting next season, at clubs and schools throughout the country to educate and inform on the risks of illegal performance enhancing drugs.

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Wednesday 13, Aug 2014

  Rugby Defends Its Anti-Doping Program

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Rugby Defends Its Anti-Doping Program

Anti-doping figures released for 2013 by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) indicate that Rugby Union on international scale demonstrates a higher percentage of positive test results than either cycling or athletics. The International Rugby Board welcomed the findings but remarked this does not suggest that the sport is less clean than other sports listed in the report.

WADA made this finding by combining all of its laboratory findings across Olympic sports in 2013. The findings were taken from both urine and blood samples and were made public on July 8th. It was revealed that the 1.3 percent figure of rugby is a higher Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) than both athletics and cycling that both come in at 1.2 percent. An Adverse Analytical Finding means the presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolite was found in the sample.

The figures include all analyses conducted by the 33 WADA- accredited laboratories for in- and out-of-competition testing and by the two additional laboratories that have been approved by the World Anti-Doping Agency. These laboratories conduct blood testing exclusively for the Athlete Biological Passport, which is one of the most important anti-doping tools to be introduced in recent years.

There were 5,962 adverse or atypical test results across all sports in 2013, compared with 4,723 in 2012 that revealed the number of abnormal test findings increased by more than 20 percent last year. In all, 6,126 samples were taken in rugby across the 33 laboratories that appears comparatively low compared to 11,585 taken in athletics and 22,252 in cycling. The very high testing rate of cycling is due to the fact that WADA tends to target sports that have proven to be drug user-friendly. WADA remarked the results offer the most robust and transparent reflection of the global state of anti-doping testing to date.

Football in general registered a figure of 0.5 per cent in 201 though it was recently revealed by FIFA, the world governing body of football, that there were no positive tests from any players in the recently-concluded FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

An IRB spokesman said what it doesn’t mean is rugby is less clean than other sports and added you cannot deduce that. The spokesman added what it shows is that an intelligent anti-doping program in rugby is working and catching those using illegal substances and added we want to catch people using banned substances and a lot of our testing is targeted and we focus a lot on the Under 20s. The IRB spokesman also remarked quite often positive tests would come from supplements and we know they are particularly susceptible there, so education is also a big part of our program and also remarked that these figures show they will be tested and they will be caught if they use illegal substances.

A spokesman for the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) said our anti-doping program is in line with the International Rugby Board and Irish Sports Council Anti-Doping criteria and we believe that it is very robust and added this is a global study and the IRFU is not in a position to comment.

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Tuesday 12, Feb 2013

  Six Australian Rugby League Clubs Under Investigation

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Six Australian Rugby League Clubs Under Investigation

Anti-doping officials have met with six top-flight Australian rugby league clubs that were named in a national probe into the use of banned performance enhancing drugs that sent shockwaves across the country.

On Tuesday, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency (ASADA) briefed National Rugby League (NRL) clubs Manly, Cronulla, Newcastle, Penrith, North Queensland, and Canberra on their investigation process after the clubs confirmed they were under scrutiny in the wake of a recently-released report.

The report, which is the result of a year-long investigation of Australia’s top criminal intelligence unit, had already implicated two teams of Australian Rules footba

ll to rock the sports-mad country.

The NRL said ASADA met with the affected NRL clubs as a group and individually and a brave face was put by senior officials at the teams. Manly CEO David Perry said we need to c

lean the game up if it is bigger than we think but expressed hopes that all is probably fine. Penrith boss Phil Gould, who slammed the report that didn’t provide details of affected clubs and players, said he understood it would be a drawn-out process. Canberra Raiders chief Don Furner remarked that we fully support any investigations by the NRL or the ACC in relations to these matters while Newcastle Knights chief executive Matt Gidley said his club will cooperate with any official inquiry and it maintains full confidence under the management of (coach) Wayne Bennett. North

Queensland Cowboys chief executive Peter Jourdain said the team has been mentioned in the report but they have no information on the context and they will not make any further public comment until a briefing is received by them though they strongly support the investigation.

The call from ARL Commission chief executive David Smith to Cowboys management came as a surprise to them as they said earlier in the day that they understood they were not one of the clubs to be named by the ACC. The ARL Commission chief executive said the league had no authority to confirm the number of players referred to in the report and added that the information that has been passed on to the clubs is simply that they have been referred to within the report. Meanwhile, the NRL has committed to establishing a fully resourced integrity unit and appointed a former federal court judge to assist in its investigations in the wake of the explosive report.

Ten other NRL clubs all confirmed they were not mentioned in the report. Meanwhile, authorities from cricket, football, and rugby union remarked they are not under investigation.

The meeting came after Australia’s sports minister, Kate Lundy, warned the country is facing a grim fight to stamp out doping, which the top criminal intelligence unit of Australia said was fueled by organized crime.

World Anti-Doping Agency chief John Fahey said he did not understand why the government released the report in such a broadbrush way and added that he didn’t understand the motive behind that or the strategy though he said there may be a good reason but that is unknown to him at this stage.

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Monday 20, Dec 2010

  Fine for rugby union players using recreational drugs

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Fine for rugby union players using recreational drugsAccording to a report in the Daily Mail, top rugby union players will be let off with a fine from next year if they are caught making use of recreational drugs.

It was also reported that name of offenders will only be released if they fail two drug tests in 18 months.

Mark McCafferty, the chief executive of Premier Rugby, said it is good to see that players have been very fair and cooperative to the new policy.