Ronan O’Gara has taken a strong zero tolerance line to drug cheating in rugby, insisting the ‘juicers’ should be hit with lifetime bans from the sport.
In the Irish legend’s column in the print edition of Friday’s Irish Examiner, O’Gara believes the game’s governing body needs to ‘sock it’ to those found guilty of taking performance-enhancing drugs. World Rugby cannot be ambivalent about an issue that could sully the game for generations.
“If we are talking about growth hormone or anabolic steroids, you simply can’t get into a ‘second chance’ debate with that sort of conscious decision-making. Go away and find something else to pollute.
“Sanctions from the governing body have to be so draconian so that young hopefuls of 17-18 are under no illusions as to the consequences of their actions.
Rugby has to make the punishment for drug-taking an overwhelming disincentive. A two-year ban when you’re 20 essentially means go away to the gym with no one watching and you come back with the benefits of juicing still intact in a couple of years. It’s not something rugby can be ambivalent about,” O’Gara writes.
He insists there is a clear difference between PED’s and anti-inflammatories such as Diafene.
But even such medication should be the exception, not the rule.
“It’s rare that a professional rugby player can say he is 100% right going into a game but taking an anti-inflammatory to take your mind off the problem and help you focus on the job in hand is probably not the best approach to be taking,” he added.
Don’t miss O’Gara’s full exclusive column in the print edition of Friday’s Examiner Sport pullout.