Wednesday 26 June 2019

Paul Kimmage: 'Rugby needs to address drugs issue. All we are hearing is silence'

"Any sport that has a supplement culture at 16 is on a dodgy path."

Paul Kimmage believes any sport with a supplement culture at 16 is on a
Paul Kimmage believes any sport with a supplement culture at 16 is on a "dodgy path"

Declan Whooley

Sunday Independent columnist Paul Kimmage says that rugby needs to debate the issue of drugs which is "obvious to anyone who looks at it now."

Kimmage was speaking to Matt Cooper on Today FM following on from his article on Sunday ‘Dangerous obsession with size creates bigger need for answers‘. Kimmage wrote about performance enhancing drugs in rugby, including a recent report by Sky News correspondent Paul Kelso stating that one third of sportspeople currently serving bans for PEDs in the UK are rugby union players.

Kimmage again reiterated the suspicions over the Argentinean rugby team in 2007 that performed so well and helped consign Ireland to an early exit. The presence of Alain Camborde within their coaching team at the time is a huge concern the former pro-cyclist said given his subsequent suspended prison sentence for possession of doping substances.

"Alain Camborde wasn't in cycling, but he was very much in the school of preparation, and this new magic word nutrition," he told Cooper this evening.

"He produced a press brochure how good he was in 2007, and in that press brochure he lists that he's working with all the Argentinean players, he's taken them on as his physical trainer before the World Cup."

Read more: Dangerous obsession with size creates bigger need for answers

"That is all absolutely fine and dandy, but four years subsequently he was given a suspended prison sentence for possession of doping substances.

"You got to ask yourself the question about the contacts, or liaison, between the Argentinean rugby team and Alain Camborde. You read that and you think that was a remarkable performance by the Argentineans in 2007 and was it down to that?"

"I wrote about that on Sunday and it kept Ronan O'Gara up at night, he tweeted about it, thinking about it."

Kimmage says that there has been a obvious silence since he article was published both in the Irish media and the rugby world in general, but believes it is crucial that the issue is discussed.

While he says he doesn't know if any Irish rugby players in the past have used performance enhancing drugs, he says it would be naïve to discount the idea.

"You've got to be blind to think that this is going on in France, and Argentina and South Africa and England – because if you look at the anti-doping stats now on the positives recently  in England, most of them are rugby union players - they you are going to be a bit naïve to think that we are somehow insulated from that."

"I don't know," he replied if he believed Irish rugby players have doped.

"I had one text from someone within rugby community here saying "this is a time bomb". For me the killer is the silence. I have heard this silence before."

Read more: Paul Kimmage: Rugby has to face up to its growing pains

Kimmage has vowed to continue to tackle the issue for the greater good of the sport.

"What I am going to do is pull the head out of the sand. I'm going to show them this problem that this sport has to face and address. Any sport that has a supplement culture at 16 is on a dodgy path"

"I'm asking the question. I'm asking the people who love the sport to debate what is obvious to anyone who looks at it now. We need to have this debate."

"So far, all we are hearing is silence."

Earlier this week Ireland international Jamie Heaslip was sceptical over the nature of Kimmage's claims.

"He needs something for controversial content and he'll find it in anything!" he posted on his Twitter account.

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