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Francis claims rugby players smoked heroin

A FORMER Irish rugby international has urged the IRFU to "wake up" to the use of Class A drugs such as cocaine by rugby players.

Neil Francis, capped 36 times for Ireland, said he knew of three Irish rugby internationals, who played test rugby with him, who have regularly taken Class A drugs throughout their careers.

There should be "an unbreachable and indivisible clause" in every player's contract that if Class A drugs are found in their system, "that's it, they're gone forever -- no clemency, mitigating factors, mercy -- nothing".

He said the IRFU should "protect their game; protect their players -- perhaps from themselves".

"If they don't they will be made to look like proper Charlies," he added.

He was commenting on the case of ex-Bath player, Australian Justin Harrison, who has been banned for eight months for taking cocaine.

Writing in his Sunday newspaper column, Francis said that Harrison's comment "Class A, it's ok," on the Bath RFC bus was a truism.

"He is absolutely right -- everyone is doing it," he said.

Class A drugs include LSD, ecstasy, heroin, cocaine, magic mushrooms, injectable amphetamines and crack cocaine.

Francis said he knew of one "prominent international" who played test rugby with him who "would have taken every single Class A drug mentioned above".

"He would have taken heroin intravenously and smoked it as well and would regularly have gone abroad to 'go mad'.

"He would have told me in minute detail what he had taken, how he had taken it, where he got it and what effect it had on him.

"He had used some of those drugs literally five or six years before they even became well known in Ireland.

"The second international, another prominent player, again took everything on the Class A list, apart from heroin.

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"He would also have taken the performance-enhancing drugs, Dianabol and testosterone.

"He would also have quite a stash on tour.

"The third was another well known player whose drug of choice was ecstasy and a strong line in speed and amphetamines. Again, he was a Class A tourist.

"All three told me directly of their habits and I witnessed all three either ingest or smoke Class A drugs," Francis said.



fence

He knew of "quite a number" of players from Ulster, Leinster and Munster who at one stage or another would have taken cocaine.

He was also aware of rugby players who were on "the other side of the fence: the supply side".

A former SANZA "great" was the biggest "fish," he said.

"He procured Class A and performance enhancing drugs for his squad. He was 'the fence' and 'go to' guy particularly for anabolic steroids where his knowledge of what type of drug required was encyclopedic."

"Everyone is doing it!" he added.

mlavery@herald.ie


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