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Drug tests for World Cup-bound ABs



All Black squad members face random doping tests before they head to France.

But Drug Free Sport NZ boss Graeme Steele says the testing has nothing to do with comments from French coach Bernard Laporte, who has questioned procedures in New Zealand and England.

Laporte has said: "There is regular monitoring in France.

"The player cannot dope himself - well he can, but he will be caught. But what is happening in New Zealand or in England? You cannot be sure of anything."

Steele rubbished Laporte's comments, adding the All Blacks were likely to be targeted for a series of random tests before they head to France in late August.

"All of them would have been tested - many of them on multiple occasions - over the last year or so," Steele said.

"And without giving away too much, they are well within our sights (in) the next few weeks as well.

"I think they expect it - it's not something you want to put someone through unnecessarily. But I think they understand it comes with the territory.

"For the most part, we find them prettying affording of what we do."

The English Rugby Football Union has also come out strongly against Laporte's comments.

Its tournaments director Terry Burwell added the RFU was the only national rugby body which had a full-time doping officer.

And Steele was adamant the anti-doping procedures the NZRU adheres to were up there with anything used elsewhere in the world.

"We would put it up against the program that anyone else has got," he said.

"I can't imagine where this has come from and what would prompt him to say that - if he has specific concerns then we would be keen to hear what they are.

"But, as I say, the program we have in New Zealand is as good as anyone else's around the world - and certainly the French (one)."

Steele said Laporte should look in his own backyard before making such generalisations, pointing to years of drug scandals in the European nation's sporting showpiece - cycling's Tour de France.

"And certainly if Bernard thinks the French are catching every doper on their patch, then he doesn't have to go any further than that Tour (de France) to get a clue that maybe there is some work to do over there," Steele said.

"If he thinks his wonderful system is catching everybody, then is certainly wrong. "It is kind of the French approach to rugby generally - you get your retaliation in first."


Source: http://nz.sports.yahoo.com/070806/10/14wj.html