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Henson: Jail rugby's drug takers

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'If a player gets caught taking drugs it should be a jail sentence because you're stealing a living'

Gavin Henson believes the suggestion by ex-Wales coach Warren Gatland that a player may have taken performance-enhancing drugs during his long stint in charge should have resulted in a full-blown investigation. 

Gatland, who made the remark over the winter during a promotional interview for his new book, eventually played down what he had said, suggesting that what he had hinted was merely dressing room banter. 

But Henson, who earned 13 of his 33 Wales caps under Gatland, insisted the issue should not be trivialised. Now retired from playing, the 38-year-has been forging a new career for himself as a village pub owner in St Brides Major just outside Bridgend.   

Speaking to walesonline.co.uk in an extensive midweek interview, the two-time Grand Slam winner and 2005 Lions tourist claimed any inkling regarding performance-enhancing drugs must be taken seriously. 

“I’ve been in an environment where the drug testers come in and there are one or two boys who run out. That’s happened at professional level,” he revealed. “How it is acceptable, I don’t know, but as a player, you can’t do anything about it.

“Of course it made me angry. Boys are cheating and those kinds of things give you such an advantage. There are boys who have had careers on the back of taking stuff that has cost other players international places, or even club team places, which is really lucrative.

“For me, I feel the rule that should be in place is if you get caught taking drugs it should be a jail sentence because you are stealing a living. You are taking money from someone else. One or two boys were quite open and honest about it but there is no proof.

“There was always changing room talk but unless you are a doctor or something you can’t prove it. For a coach to say what Gatland did, I felt like there should be an investigation, but there we go.”

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'If a player gets caught taking drugs it should be a jail sentence because you're stealing a living'
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