Monday 23 April 2018

Donncha O'Callaghan gives example of how flimsy drug testing is in rugby

Donncha O’Callaghan was in Dublin for the launch of the #TeamOfUs shirt swap initiative
Donncha O’Callaghan was in Dublin for the launch of the #TeamOfUs shirt swap initiative
Simon Zebo in action during Munster training at University of Limerick. Picture: Sportsfile

Cian Tracey​

Donncha O'Callaghan believes that rugby players should be drug-tested by their clubs on a daily basis and has hit out at the level of certain methods of testing.

The former Munster and Ireland second-row, now playing with Worcester, said he would be naive to think that no players he played with ever took banned substances, but he is adamant that he has never seen any evidence of it.

Rugby has been put in the spotlight over the last week after Dan Carter and two of his Racing 92 team-mates tested positive for corticosteroids.

The former All Black out-half has pleaded his innocence and an investigation is ongoing, but O'Callaghan insists that clubs should be doing more.

"I would be naive to think that it doesn't go on within the squads I have been involved in and teams I'm with, but I've never come across it," O'Callaghan said. "For me, it's cheating.

"I'd love that if it is going on, it becomes more heightened. Some of the testing is poor.

"I did a test two weeks ago over in Worcester. They took some of my armpit hair but they used the same scissors for me that they used for someone else.

"They're saying they used sterile wipes but that's my career. Say two of us (did the test) and you're taking something, what happens if a follicle of your hair falls in? The urine test is incredibly professional.

"I think there's an onus on the clubs as well. If it is going on, I would be fully in favour of testing guys every morning.

"I think what's more worrying is that you look around dressing-rooms now and the amount of pain killers that fly around before games."

Erasmus: “The step up was there definitely intensity wise, higher than previous games, but as a reality check, if you’re going to give them 14 points, you’re going to lose the game by 14 points on a platter.” Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Meanwhile, Munster boss Rassie Erasmus insists that the ongoing Racing 92 drugs row will not affect his side's preparations for Sunday's clash.

"We see it in the newspapers but it is so out of our control and it shouldn't have any influence on you, whether it is a coach or a player or supporter," he said.

"I've known Dan Carter for a long time, I have coached against him and played against him. He is such an icon and I would never say anything bad about him.

"And I have no problem with the other two players involved. Let justice take its course."

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Irish Independent

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