RFU releases latest anti-doping report
ESPN Staff
November 13, 2014

The RFU has released its latest anti-doping report for rugby and is launching an academic study involving up to 1,000 teenagers in order to learn more about the report's findings and the scale of doping in the sport.

The most recent testing programme comprised 536 tests, taken both in and out of competition and including both targeted and random testing. There were five positive tests ranging from University level to level 1 rugby (Aviva Premiership). The report also revealed one case of possession and trafficking at county level. Separately, 481 tests were carried out as part of the RFU's Illicit Drugs Programme, where there were four positive tests. There are six cases from last year's study still ongoing.

As players' physiques grow, fears are rising that young players will turn to steroids when feeling under pressure to bulk up. As a result, the RFU has commissioned a study from researchers at Leeds Beckett University to find out more about the use of performance and image enhancing substances in male adolescent players.

"As a sport we take our responsibilities in this area very seriously," said Rob Andrew, RFU Professional Rugby Director and chair of the Anti-doping Advisory Group. "The RFU continues to implement world-leading anti-doping, illicit drug and education programmes, using the best available resources and focussing on emerging trends. Last season has seen an increase in anti-doping rule violations, proving that smart detection and collaboration are key to a successful programme, together with increased targeted testing.

"A wider education programme and increased testing will be used to tackle this growing issue amongst younger players. It is, therefore, timely that a research project with Leeds Beckett University commenced this season to investigate attitudes towards the use of dietary supplements and banned substances among adolescent rugby players. The study's results will help shape the way the RFU educates young players about the dangers of supplementation use and performance enhancing drugs."

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