Published: 13:57 | 16/9/19

O'Driscoll: Schools in doping 'Danger zone'


Former Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll believes that young players in the irish schools system are in a doping 'danger zone'.

Schools rugby players are currently outside the jurisdiction of the IRFU and Sport Ireland when it comes to doping controls which, O'Driscoll feels, leaves them at risk of succumbing to the temptations of taking performance-enhancing drugs.

"Rugby players now...are absolutely susceptible to the pressures that come with team selection," he said.

"When you bring money and livelihoods into a game, you're naturally going to have people wanting to push the boundaries and potentially cheat. 

"If you can discourage anyone of any group to not give in to the temptations of what might help their future career, that's very, very important and if that's 15 or 16-year-olds, so be it. 

"I have to say I think that's where the issue potentially lies because I know and I’ve had conversations with people and I understand the pressure that kids are under. Also, you can be persuaded a little bit.

"It’s easier than with someone with a little bit more experience and know-how of life (to say no).

"If you are told as a younger kid, and I’m not talking specifically of Ireland but the world over, as a 15 or 16-year-old that you are not going to make the cut because you are not big enough, that’s the worrying age profile.

"I would be a believer in (testing) because I do think that that is a danger zone or a danger age."

Ireland's potential World Cup opponents South Africa have been embroiled in controversy following news that Aphiwe Dyantyi, World Rugby's Breakthrough Player of the Year in 2018, has been charged with a doping offence after testing positive for "multiple anabolic steroids and metabolites".

"We've seen it, players have been caught out. Dyantyi a few weeks ago," O'Driscoll added.We have to be extremely vigilant and always on the look-out. In any financial gain situation, you have people trying to push the boundaries. We are absolutely not (any) different."

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