Doping in rugby worries All Blacks legend

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Sean Fitzpatrick (Gallo Images)
Sean Fitzpatrick (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Legendary former All Blacks captain Sean Fitzpatrick fears rugby will never rid itself of doping and has called for harsher punishment for offenders.

Fitzpatrick’s comments come after it was revealed earlier this month that four New Zealand rugby players had been suspended for doping offences.

Glen Robertson, a former New Zealand under-20 and sevens international and female player Zoe Berry, who played one Test for the Black Ferns against England in 2012, were both given four-year suspensions.

Two other club-level players received a two-year ban and a 21-month ban respectively.

Rhys Pedersen, Berry and Robertson were banned for possessing and in some cases using or attempting to use stimulant clenbuterol, while Ben Qauqau-Dodds was charged with possession and use or attempted use of anabolic steroid metandienone.

"Unfortunately, I don't think you are ever going to stamp it out so that is why it is so important that we're forever challenging the system, and implementing the testing," Fitzpatrick told the Irish Independent.

"Like playing, it's about constantly learning, we have to make sure we challenge it all the time. I don't know what the criteria are in terms of bans for certain infringements.

"It's difficult to comment on certain bans. You'd have to look at precedents in other sports, it's not my expertise. We need harsher deterrents to make sure our children and people understand the consequences."

The 54-year-old Fitzpatrick played 92 Tests for the All Blacks between 1986 and 1997.

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