Wed, Aug 08, 2007 - Page 19 News List

Kiwis respond to Laporte's comments

AFP , WELLINGTON

New Zealand's rugby union hit out yesterday at comments by French rugby coach Bernard Laporte questioning anti-doping policies in New Zealand and England.

Laporte suggested anti-doping policies in New Zealand and England rugby were not as stringent as in France.

New Zealand rugby union deputy chief executive Steve Tew said Laporte's comments to a French newspaper about drugs testing were disappointing.

"It doesn't reflect a very good understanding of the commitment that New Zealand in general, and rugby in particular, has made to a drug-free environment in this country," Tew said.

Government agency Drug Free Sport tested rugby players in New Zealand and conducted independent and random screens of players both in and out of competition, Tew said.

"By out of competition, we mean players can be visited anywhere and at any time and asked to give a urine sample, and that happens," he said.

Professional opinion suggested testing did not need to extend to blood samples, as blood doping related mainly to endurance sports, like cycling, he said.

In an interview with Journal du Dimanche, Laporte suggested testing needed to go further than urine samples and questioned testing in New Zealand and England.

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