Wellington - The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) has banned a player for six years for
using and trafficking anabolic steroids and stressed on Wednesday it was
committed to keeping the sport drug-free.
"We will not accept doping at any level within our sport," New Zealand Rugby (NZR) general manager Neil Sorensen said.
Drug Free Sport New Zealand, which enforces World Anti-Doping Agency
(WADA) codes, took the case to the NZR judicial committee after Andrew
Burne, a club player in Wellington, was discharged without conviction
when he appeared in court on drugs charges.
Police had found four bottles of the anabolic steroid Dianabol during a search of Burne's house in 2013.
"This ban sends a very clear message, banned substances, doping,
illegal drugs, steroids, whatever label you want to give it, they’re not
part of rugby or any sport in New Zealand," Sorenson said.
"We work hard to ensure that the game is clean, at all levels and so
tough responses to anti-doping violations are an important part of
enforcing that message."
Burne's ban is the second in New Zealand in less than 12 months after
a 19-year-old received a two-year ban last year for possessing a
performance enhancing drug.
"We think the game in this country is relatively clean compared to other countries," Sorensen said.
"But we take nothing for granted and we’ll continue to improve the
guidance we provide young players so we can create a great culture for
rugby free of drugs."