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Anti-doping agency explain why they're targeting New Zealand schools rugby

By Ian Cameron
World Rugby launched their 'Keep Rugby Clean' campaign in recent years to tackle drug abuse in the sport

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Drug Free Sport NZ (DFSNZ) will carry out anti-doping testing at the NZSS 1stXV Top 4 rugby tournament in Palmerston North in September it has been revealed.

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DFSNZ claim they’ve identified elements within the schools rugby environment which indicate a significant potential for doping to occur, namely that they believe the practice occurs in both the UK and in South Africa.

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 South Africa and the UK.

DFSNZ has the mandate and responsibility to act in environments where it believes there is a significant potential for doping to occur. This competition is run under the jurisdiction of NZ Rugby who have adopted WADA Code compliant anti-doping rules that are mandatory for all players.

In a statement on the agency’s website it reads: “It is essential that secondary school sport operates with integrity to ensure fairness and, most importantly, the health of players must be protected.

“Education is vital to ensuring that players, coaches and parents are aware of the processes and any related issues in advance of the tournament.”

In 2014 Scotland U20 player Sam Chalmers opened up in a World Rugby vifdeo about his two-year ban following a doping violation.

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“I was stupid and naive and I’m still mortified and embarrassed by what I did” Chalmers said of his decision. “I not only let myself down but my club and family as well. What I did was wrong and I hope that talking to the ASP athletes about it will help them realise how important it is that they are strong when it comes to making the right decisions.”

World Rugby operates a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy on doping and players are responsible for any prohibited substance found in their body.

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Anti-doping agency explain why they're targeting New Zealand schools rugby

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