Drugs In Rugby


A chara, - If we are to win the Rugby World Cup in 1999 (a difficult, but not impossible task), there will have to be a level playing-field (in all senses). I have no doubt that we have the players to achieve this historic goal. But I have been worried for some time by the lack of consistency in refereeing at international level and by the impact of performance-enhancing drugs.

It has always been impossible to believe that Irish rugby could have entirely escaped the scourge of drug abuse, but I am sure that at present it is a problem of small, but manageable proportions. I am sure, too, that it is a factor in rugby that has told against us in the recent past.

In these circumstances Neil Francis (a great player, insufficiently appreciated by his own fellow-countrymen) is deserving of our congratulation, not vilification. He has shown the courage that is necessary if sportsmanship and fair play are to be restored to rugby football. The IRFU owes him a public apology. It also owes us a rugby anthem that we can all be proud to sing. I take the opportunity once again to put forward the merits of that inspiring Shannon call to arms, There is an Isle. - Is mise, Gerard Morgan,


Trinity College,

Dublin 2.