Ian Ritchie

RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie has said there is a doping problem in professional rugby. He admitted “we realise it’s an issue. We’re addressing it”

In the same week that Bonymaen RFC’s Nick Clancy became the 10th player suspended in the UK in 2014, Ritchie said the RFU is confronting the issue of doping.

“Whichever way you look at it I think there is recognition that there is a problem,” he said. “We are addressing this and not putting it under the carpet. We’re recognising this is an issue.”


Former France prop Laurent Benezech, who claims he was illegally given cortisone by his team doctors in the 1995 World Cup, told the Mail on Sunday that he fears for the future of the sport and its players.

“When I meet rugby players and I see, for example, a change in their jaw, which is the mark of human growth hormone, I can only be concerned about the long-term evolution of my sport and the health of its players.”

Nicola Newman, the director of communications and education at UK Anti-Doping, said: “I think it’s a really important conversation to be having. There is an issue in rugby, and this is something the RFU have acknowledged.

“But what we don’t know, and will probably never know, is how big an issue it is.”