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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 October, 2003, 11:37 GMT 12:37 UK
Kirwan: Hit cheats hard
Italy coach John Kirwan
Kirwan is not naive enough to think there are no drugs in rugby
John Kirwan has called for any rugby player who fails a drugs test to be banned for life.

The Italy coach and former All Black legend wants to ensure the integrity of the game is not tainted by doping scandals that have blighted cycling and athletics.

Kirwan believes rugby, with its relatively clean reputation, has a responsibility to lead the way in drugs testing and must be ruthless in stamping out cheats.

"I love the sport of rugby, it has given me so much," Kirwan explained. "If anyone is cheating they should be stopped and banned forever.

"I hope they catch all the cheats. It's a great sport for youngsters and it's very important we should lead the way as far as sports are concerned."

World Cup officials have announced that they will begin testing for tetrahydrogestrinoine (THG) in the final week of pool matches.

"Do as many tests as you like," Kirwan added.

"All our guys have been tested and I wouldn't be very tolerant of someone that had cheated.

"Cycling is sad. I used to watch the Tour de France but now I just watch it at a glance because I think 'who is really winning this?'

"I would hate to see rugby get like that. So let's do all the tests and whoever is cheating, let's get rid of them."

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