It is a hot topic once more in the build-up to the Rugby World Cup but Ireland powerhouse CJ Stander has said that he was never aware of doping during his time in South Africa.
The 29-year-old previously played for Currie Cup side Blue Bulls and represented South Africa at the 2010 IRB Junior World Championship in Japan.
Stander was called up to train with the senior side during their preparations for the Rugby Championship in 2012 but he failed to make it into the final squad before a move to Munster followed later that year.
He was told that the reason he couldn’t make it in his home country was that he was too small and with power and strength key attributes in South African rugby, it is little wonder that doping is thought to be prominent in the country.
“When I was young I was out in the sticks. I never really came across a lot. It’s something that, if you want to go look for it [drugs] and you want to do it, it’s probably [easy to get].”
The issue has reared its ugly head again since Springboks star Aphiwe Dyantyi failed a drug test prior to the tournament and while reports suggest that the 25-year-old intends to challenge the doping ban, it has cast a shadow over proceedings in Japan.
Stander insists the issue is monitored well in Ireland and hopes that it will be stamped out of the game entirely.
“I don’t think it’s a great thing to do at all. It’s a great sport and we need to keep it clean.
“In Ireland anyway they look after all those things and make sure everyone is on track, so again I think it’s something we need to get out of the sport.”
“I played Craven Week probably 11 years ago. The most you got then was the eggs you got in the morning for the protein. I was tested when I played Craven Park. They were quite on top of it.
“Probably in the last few years they had more testers out – I don’t really know what happened in the last few years.
“If you want to go down that path, I don’t stand for it at all. It’s influenced from the outside, maybe.”
Should matters in Pool A go favourably for Joe Schmidt’s side, South Africa will be potential quarter-final opponents for Ireland. Having never progressed past that stage in the history of the tournament, it would be a tall order.
However, before they can even think about that, Ireland must get through this weekend’s opening clash with Scotland in Yokohama Stadium.
The Munster man maintains that Ireland are in “a good place” heading into Sunday’s game and have been embracing life in Japan so far.
“It’s been great. We’ve trained three days – in hot weather and wet weather. In between that we had a few off days. A few lads went to Tokyo, a few lads went to watch the sumo wrestling. I went to the arcade. You know the tipping point where you put the coins in?
“In Ireland you only put one coin in and it drops down to the bottom. Here you can put 15 coins in and they all come down. Jean Kleyn, who was next to me, actually got the jackpot. I think we threw in a thousand coins and got 500 out – it’s a loss, but it’s a great day.”