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Drugs in Sport
Rugby high on failed drug tests
ESPN Staff
July 16, 2014
Pill man drug test drugs
© Getty Images

Rugby union recorded a higher percentage of positive test results than either cycling or athletics in 2013.

The findings, which come from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), are a result of all of its laboratory findings across Olympic sports in 2013.

The figures show rugby's figure of 1.3% positive (the presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolite in the sample) is higher than the two sports more readily identified with drug abuse.

While the IRB welcomed the results, a spokesman told the Irish Times they did not mean rugby was any less clean than other sports. "What it shows is that an intelligent anti-doping program in rugby is working and catching those using illegal substances We want to catch people using banned substances. A lot of our testing is targeted and we focus a lot on the Under-20s.

"Quite often positive tests would come from supplements. We know they are particularly susceptible there, so education is also a big part of our program. These figures show they will be tested and they will be caught if they use illegal substances."

In 2014 a total of 6126 samples were taken from rugby union players (this compares with 22,252 in cycling and 11,585 in athletics). Only weightlifting (3.4% from 8553 tests) and wrestling (2.3% from 4331 tests) come out worse than rugby.

Earlier in the year the IRB said it had taken 1831 samples which resulted in three positive results. The spokesman said that its system was "very robust".

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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