Mitchell: Rugby free of doping

2013-02-08 09:36
Drew Mitchell (Gallo)
Sydney - Wallabies wing Drew Mitchell said he was ''confident'' rugby in Australia was free of doping.

Mitchell was responding on Thursday to the findings of the year-long Australian Crime Commission investigation.

''I'd be pretty confident in saying that it's not [going on],'' he said. ''We're pretty close to one another given how much we play together in the Australian Rugby Union. You see how one another trains and what supplements one another takes.

''We often room with different players each week on tours so it's pretty hard to hide things like that. And these are guys at the top end of each of these state teams so I would be confident in saying that it's not rearing its head in Australian rugby at the moment.''

ARU chief Bill Pulver said there were no investigations under way in regards to banned substances in rugby.

Pulver said there would be more than 220 drug tests administered this year across the Wallabies, Super Rugby and sevens rugby.

In the past two years, the ARU had prosecuted four cases of breaches of the anti-doping code but none involved players at the elite level.

A grade footballer on the south coast was one of the most recent cases.

Mitchell Spackman, from Kiama, was banned from the sport for two years after buying growth hormone-releasing peptide (GHRP-6) online.

The parcel was seized by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.

Mitchell said ignorance was no excuse for players.

''It's once guys start reading magazines and find a new product that might enhance and they go outside the team recommendations and start doing their own things, that's when it can start getting a little bit blurred.

''But we're well-educated in that [area] and ignorance is not acceptable. Even if [a breach] was by mistake or was just something that was overlooked, that's not going to rub with [anti-doping agencies] so it's better off asking [if something is acceptable] or getting it tested first.''

Pulver said there was no room for complacency despite rugby's comparatively clean bill of health.

''ARU condemns the use of performance-enhancing drugs and doping practices in sport so the implications are that we will be living that position statement through our support for the government's initiatives,'' he said.

''Vigilance is the key and this is about making a stand to provide further detergents and processes to protect the integrity of sport.''


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