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Highlights on Off The Ball

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Highlights on Off The Ball

Earlier this month, Brian O'Driscoll highlighted the need for drug testing at underage level in rugby.

The former Ireland captain expressed his view that that's where the "real temptation" is in regards to using banned substances.

"In Ireland, we don't have testing at a schoolboy level which for me I don't understand. That's where the real temptation is," he said at a recent Off The Ball event.

"I think it is far less prevalent at an elite level because there is so much testing and the players know that.

"If I was a parent of a 15, 16-year-old skinny kid that is being told they're not going to make it because they're not big enough, and there's temptation and something presents itself, I would want my kid to be tested.

"I would want to discourage it."

Ex-Munster and Leicester Tigers player Johne Murphy joined us and gave his take on the issue.

He feels education is the starting point.

"It's all about education in my opinion," he said.

"Making sure that everyone is educated in the right way, knowing that if you do something like this. That's probably it."

Murphy then turned to the issue of introducing testing programmes.

Drug Testing

"But I do think that there are two things for this to go ahead if it is something that the IRFU want to do," he said.

"Obviously, child welfare and parental consent is a massive thing. And that has to be looked after because drug testing is not simple.

"I've done it plenty of times myself and in terms of dealing with under-18s, there is going to be a massive issue there, in that regard, for what's just technically involved in giving a sample.

"Outside of that, I do think education, as I've already said, is key to making sure that if you're in charge - for instance I'm in charge of a senior environment now in Newbridge College - it's spoken about that, 'There is no need for supplements, there is no need for anything as long as you're looking after diet'.

Awareness of Dangers

"We essentially are a professional rugby programme based around school for eight months until however long they're knocked out of the cup. Like my guys are in the gym this morning at 7 o'clock.

"They'll go to school and they'll have an individual line-out and backs session at lunchtime. They'll be on the pitch at 3:50PM for an hour today. But I think it's something that certainly needs to be spoken about, and the issues and problems that can be created if you go down that route.

"But anyone who's in charge of an environment in schools rugby needs to be aware of what dangers are out there in terms of getting the stuff, how available it is. Everything, so to make sure we are world leaders in this area. Because currently, our school system is the envy of most rugby playing nations. We need to make sure we're ahead of the game when it comes to stuff like this. Whether it's testing becomes available, then perfect. Then let's make sure it's available and done in the correct way."

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Brian O'Driscoll Doping Drug Testing Johne Murphy Off The Ball Rugby Testing

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