The Rugby Football Union's anti-doping annual report has disclosed seven anti-doping violations during the 2014-15 season. The report, which was published on Friday, revealed all violations involved players "outside of the elite game".
This is the fifth year that the governing body of Rugby has released the findings of its anti-doping activity in England. The count of anti-doping violations through intelligence-led investigations (four) outnumbered those from positive tests for the first time. The testing program conducted 719 anti-doping test in and out-of-competition in all, of which three returned positive results that is down from five testing violations during the 2013-14 season, while the overall number for that campaign was 11.
The RFU revealed the majority of positive results came from the lower levels of the professional game. The Rugby Football Union also disclosed a greater focus would be placed on structure of the National League and players would receive greater education on the dangers of doping.
RFU rugby director Rob Andrew remarked cheating, and the blight of doping, plays no part in our game. Andrew added everyone recognizes the damage that drug use can do to the image of the game and added players as public figures can set a positive example to others, particularly for the thousands of young people who love the sport. The RFU rugby director also said it is a sad fact that performance enhancing drug use is not an issue that is confined to elite sport and has permeated through society. Andrew added recreational players doping in order to improve their performance, and young people taking performance enhancing drugs in a bid to enhance their image, present a challenge to society in general and the core values of the game.
Anti-Doping Advisory Group of RFU works closely with UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) and law enforcement agencies for intelligence sharing. Pat Myhill, UKAD director of operations, remarked we live in a country where sport is an integral part of the cultural fabric of our community. Myhill added sport can carry the hopes of a nation but we must accept that there will always be those who look to exploit those hopes and also added the only way we can tackle these issues is by working closely together.
The RFU statistics don't match up with UK Anti-Doping. A few months back, Nicole Sapstead, the chief executive of UK Anti-Doping, remarked rugby union is the sport which is at the most risk of doping. The sanction list of UKAD justifies Sapstead's remark. Of the 47 people listed on the banned list of UK Anti-Doping, 16 are from rugby union and 12 from rugby league. The two codes include 81 per cent of the bans announced this year by UK's anti-doping agency.
A few months back, Ben Murphy, a 19-year-old second row for Merthyr in the Swalec Championship, was sold a supplement called Dedicated Unstoppable by a teammate. The rugby player was told many others were using it and a search of the manufacturer's website disclosed it was “banned-ingredient free” but Murphy tested positive for Dimethylbutylamine, which cost him a six-month ban. Earlier, Sam Chalmers, the son of former Scotland and Lions fly-half Craig Chalmers, tested positive for Stanozolol and Methandienone, both anabolic steroids.