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Wednesday, 24 April, 2002, 19:17 GMT 20:17 UK
Dawe calls for more tests
Former Bath hooker Graham Dawe currently coaches Plymouth Albion
Dawe steered clear of supplements in his playing days
By BBC Sport's Rob Walker
  Have your say on the issue

Plymouth Albion chairman of rugby Graham Dawe says the RFU should step up their drugs testing programmes around the country.

His call comes a week after Albion centre Russell Thompson was suspended from rugby for two years after testing positive for the banned substance 19-norandrostenedione.

Dawe urged the RFU tribunal to be lenient, as the player said he had taken the substance by mistake.

The New Zealander told the RFU tribunal that he had intended to purchase Norateen Heavyweight II, but was supplied with Norateen instead.

I don't think we should underestimate the intelligence of rugby players
Graham Dawe
Despite this setback for his club, Dawe, a former hooker for Bath and England, told Rugby Special that more players should be tested for illegal substances.

"It serves as a massive warning to all players, not just in Plymouth but all over the country," he said.

"It's good that the RFU are doing drugs testing - long may it continue and I think we should step it up."

With the rewards for succeeding in the sport growing every year, the pressure on players to enhance their performance through the use of supplements is increasing.

In his playing days Dawe steered clear of muscle building mixtures, preferring to rely on his natural build and determination to see him through, but he admits that the line between illegal and legal is a thin one.

Stretching limits

"All players want to be successful in their careers and take things to the limit," he said.

"As clubs all we can do is test people regularly and get the results back, and Plymouth will certainly be doing that more now in the future."

The farmer-come-coach also discounts suggestions that advertisments in leading rugby magazines are responsible for leading players astray.

"Players have got to be sensible," he said.

"I don't think we should underestimate the intelligence of rugby players - they should be very particular as to what they take."

Dawe added: "I'm always very careful what I put down my throat, so as for supplements; no thank you."

Watch Rugby Special's investigation into the use of supplements in rugby on Thursday, BBC 2 at 11.20pm

See also:

23 Apr 02 |  Rugby Special
Coming up on Rugby Special
19 Apr 02 |  English
Plymouth star banned
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