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Premiership Rugby

Clive Woodward update

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

AT: A couple of weeks ago we talked about sex, drugs and rock and roll and drugs appears to have raised its ugly head again with this new drug THG. I can’t believe that Rugby would be involved?

CW: I sincerely hope not, that is all I can say. Obviously drugs is an issue in all sports, rugby is no different, especially being a high contact game. All I can say from England’s point of view is that a huge amount of testing has taken place, particularly at Pennyhill Park during our preparations, the drugs guys came on numerous occasions and were testing up to ten players at a time. To me it is excellent, and to me the only way that you will keep drugs out of a sport is to have meticulous testing, a programme were no player at any level can possibly cheat, so that is all that you can do. The doctor, Simon Kemp and Dave Reddin, our fitness advisor, are always talking to the players and making sure that everything that a player takes and eats is within the laws of the game.

AT: But this is a new drug THG, might some players even further afield in the Zurich Premiership take it in order to sustain the level of play that is required?

CW: I sincerely hope not, I have never heard of THG but if this drug is out there the players will know that it is a drug that they shouldn’t be taking, and they will also know that if they do they will ultimately get caught and that is the message that we want to keep pushing through to them. In rugby union there is no need to cheat because you can do all the preparation in the gym, take the right supplements, have the right diet and all those areas. There is no need just to gain a marginal increase in performance use a certain drug, it shouldn’t happen and any player doing so is ridiculously stupid and is going to get caught.

And it will make front page news, so we have told all the players not just those who are out here now, but all international players. To me if they have found another drug and another way of testing that’s fantastic and I am supportive of any increase in testing or new ways of finding new drugs in players systems because you want to be involved in a sport that is drug free. You never say never, because you just don’t really know what all the players are doing 24 hours a day particularly the international players because they are playing for their Zurich Premiership clubs, all that you can do is your bit and I think that the Rugby Union is outstanding in this respect in the amount of advice given to the players.

AT: Might you be asked to test the players for this drug, would you be approached by the Drug Agency to specifically test England players?

CW: You don’t ever get asked and I don’t want to be asked, they are welcome anytime, they could arrive at breakfast and say that they want to test all thirty players and the answer is yes of course you can, there is no consultation needed. The whole idea is that they come whenever they want to, before games, out of season. We had players tested in May and June, even in their homes and this is excellent.

I don’t want to be involved, apart from categorically saying whenever asked that I will always ensure that they are available for a test and to provide a sample. That is the sport that you want to be involved in, and I welcome it because that they are doing it to all players, from all teams. We have to make sure that the Rugby Union doesn’t get involved in any situation that athletics seems to be getting involved in, from what I can gather from the papers.



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