22 Dec 2011

Two breaches of rugby anti-doping rule this year

2:45 pm on 22 December 2011

The New Zealand Rugby Union says there have been two breaches of its anti-doping rule this year - neither by All Blacks or other international players.

Neither breach involved an illegal substance or a player attempting to enhance their performance.

Drug-Free Sport New Zealand, the organisation responsible for rugby's anti-doping programme, drug-tests players from the provincial level upwards.

This year's programme of 170 tests did not include Rugby World Cup 2011, the testing for which was done by the tournament organisers.

The two breaches both involved Bay of Plenty provincial-level players.

One evaded a drug test and was subsequently banned from rugby for two years. The other sought the team doctor's treatment for a medical condition but failed to get clearance to use a banned drug to treat the condition.

The player was subsequently suspended for two games.

The Rugby Union's general manager of professional rugby, Neil Sorensen, says the two violations were unusual and not indicative of any significant problem with drugs.

But they serve, he says, as a timely reminder to players that they need to be aware of their obligations.