Doping in professional sport is forever under the microscope and rugby is no different.
The issue has been highlighted in Ireland recently after debate was opened up about Gerbrandt Grobler’s eligibility to play for Munster considering he was found guilty of doping in the past, despite serving his two-year ban from the sport.
The RFU has released figures from the 2016/17 season in relation to its anti-doping testing programme and one of the main points to come out of this is that a player plying their trade in the Aviva Premiership can go a whole season without being tested.
The figures reveal that 623 tests were carried out last season and that no violations were recorded from those tests, however, one player did fail a test in relation to illicit drugs such as cocaine.
There were two violations at community rugby level from a total of 119 tests conducted as you can see below.
Although some players can go a whole season without doping, these would be players who do not play for England. Top England players could be tested between five to eight times a year.
“Some would be tested three times a season, but some would go a season without being tested,” the RFU’s anti-doping and illicit drugs programme manager Stephen Watkins said to Sky Sports.
“It would be highly unlikely that any of them would be England players who are tested between five and eight times a season, some more, some less. We have a strategic programme, so working with UKAD we make sure players don’t go year on year without being subjected to testing.
“If a player did go a season without being tested, we’d flag it with UK Anti-Doping to make sure we pick those players up.”