Wellington - New Zealand Rugby will introduce random
out-of-competition testing for recreational drugs from next season, not only
for players but for coaches and administrators too.
The testing regime was agreed on Wednesday as part of a
collective agreement between NZR and the New Zealand Rugby Players Association.
Players have previously only been tested on game days but
the new agreement will see all players and others involved in New Zealand's top
competitions subject to random testing.
Players Association chief executive Rob Nichol said no
sanctions had been agreed, even for repeat offenders, because the purpose was
to provide support and treatment.
"It's not about catching and sanctioning," Nichol
said. "If someone is struggling in this particular area, either through a
positive test or putting their hand up or other information that brings a
problem to light, then it's about support and rehabilitation.
"And provided individuals who are in that situation
embrace that opportunity to get things sorted, they'll be given a lot of
support to sort it out."