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This Friday the long-awaited Rugby World Cup will open in Twickenham when England take on the gallant but usually overpowered Fijians. All sports fans can expect a mixture of skill, speed, strategy and tremendous athletic power, all brought together by the best teams.
One thing sports, or especially rugby fans, need not worry about is a drugs scandal. Of course rugby has uncovered some drugs misuse but the game’s authorities have reacted quietly hoping the problem will just go away - more or less the same response the once famous and powerful Blazers had to the advance of professionalism almost a quarter of a century ago.
Several international players have been found to have misused drugs, many more in what has become a brutal but lucrative club game across Europe but the consequences seem piecemeal and moderate. Deterrants they are not. Rugby authorities may be terrified to open this particular Pandora’s box but do they have any choice?
A slow and grudging response to the concussion crisis has damaged the sport’s image and if this World Cup does not turn up a drug cheat or five then more questions will be asked.
Come on Ireland!
Sean de Paor
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