Monday 24 June 2019

All Black legend admits game will never stamp out doping​


Sean Fitzpatrick Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Sean Fitzpatrick Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

David Kelly​

All Black World Cup winner Sean Fitzpatrick has admitted that rugby will never stamp out the scourge of doping.

But the legendary hooker has insisted that the sport must introduce harsher measures to deal with convicted cheats.

Four Kiwi players, three male and one female, were suspended for doping offences last week and there is the prospect of more to come, according to the New Zealand Rugby Union's general manager Neil Sorensen.

Closer to home, the IRFU have been criticised in recent days for their perceived ambivalent approach to the employment of a once-convicted drug cheat.

"We always have to be aware in terms of safety and drugs in sport," said Fitzpatrick." It always has to be at the forefront of our minds.

"World Rugby has been very stringent in ensuring we are on top of that, it's the same in every sport, leadership is so important. We have to make sure we have the right people administering our game and at the moment we have.

"We need to ensure that drugs in sport is such a no-no. We all need to work together, not just rugby but all sports, we all need to collaborate to make sure we have the right processes."

Fitzpatrick acknowledges that the issue is unlikely to disappear soon.

"Unfortunately, I don't think you are ever going to stamp it out so that is why it is so important that we're forever challenging the system, and implementing the testing," said Fitzpatrick, who is helping to promote AIG Ireland's Road Safety Campaign.

"Like playing, it's about constantly learning, we have to make sure we challenge it all the time. I don't know what the criteria are in terms of bans for certain infringements.

"It's difficult to comment on certain bans. You'd have to look at precedents in other sports, it's not my expertise. We need harsher deterrents to make sure our children and people understand the consequences."

Irish Independent

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