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Irish rugby should not consider itself any different when it comes to doping risks, according to Brian O’Driscoll.
The former Ireland and Lions captain says that young players in the schools system are in a “danger zone.”
While the IRFU works with Sport Ireland, which puts rugby in a high risk category, to carry out an anti-doping programme that covers “provincial and academy players, All Ireland League (AIL) and young players on a pathway to professional/elite rugby, i.e. provincial & national panels Under-18, Under-19 & Under-20 squads”, the schools system is not currently in their jurisdiction.
Just five of the Ireland squad currently in Japan preparing for Sunday’s opening World Cup match against Scotland did not play schools rugby in Ireland. Rhys Ruddock, Bundee Aki, CJ Stander and Jean Kleyn all moved here after school age, while Tadhg Furlong joined Leinster’s academy from New Ross RFC.
“Rugby players now…are absolutely susceptible to the pressures that come with team selection,” O’Driscoll told RTE Sport.
“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 o
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