Leinster rugby clear of prescription drugs says O’Connor
Issue has grown since All Blacks Jane and Dagg embroiled in controversy
Cory Jane was disciplined ahead of the All Blacks’ World Cup quarter-final match against Argentina in 2011 after he and Israel Dagg had been out drinking and it has recently emerged the pair had also taken a cocktail of sleeping pills. Photograph: Jason Oxenham/Getty Images)
Leinster coach Matt O’Connor has said he is unaware of any Leinster players abusing prescription drugs or being involved in taking sleeping pill cocktails. The issue arose yesterday following the controversy surrounding All Blacks stars Israel Dagg and Cory Jane.
Infamous night out
The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) confirmed the pair’s infamous night out during the 2011 World Cup was the result of a “silly” game played with prescription medication.
Both were disciplined ahead of the All Blacks’ quarter-final match against Argentina but at the time the governing body said the pair had been drinking alcohol with no mention of sleeping pills.
However, yesterday the NZRU confirmed the players had misused the medication to see who could stay up the longest but denied they had been involved in a cover up.
“No,” said O’Connor when he was asked if he was aware of similar abuse of drugs in Irish rugby. “Not for me. No,” he added.
The abuse of prescription drugs has been a hot issue in New Zealand after the country’s rugby league governing body said it was investigating the national team following last year’s World Cup in England.
“That falls directly in the remit of the team doctor,” added the Leinster coach. “I was involved in Super Rugby and their travel schedules . . . when you’ve got short turnarounds and you need to get yourself up for games and all the things that go with that then you can understand the potential need for it and use of it.
“Certainly it’s not something we’ve had to deal with in the Rabo anyway.
Elite athletes across a range of sport take sleeping pills and prescription drugs to help them wind down after competition. However the IRFU said yesterday all usage of drugs among Irish players is strictly controlled.
Australia’s National Rugby League announced on Wednesday they would start testing players, while Australia’s Olympic committee bannedtheir London delegation from taking Stilnox, a commonly prescribed sleeping pill.