Rugby Union: SRU rebukes doctor over Chalmers' injection: Scottish union denies contravening International Board regulations governing the use of pain-killers

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The Independent Online
JAMES ROBSON, the doctor on the Lions' tour during the summer, was last night rebuked by the Scottish Rugby Union for administering an injection to the stand-off Craig Chalmers before Scotland played the All Blacks in November, without first informing the team management.

The spectre of a 51-15 thrashing returned to haunt the Scots on the eve of the Five Nations Championship (they play Wales here tomorrow) through allegations that Chalmers had been given a banned pain-killing injection in the course of treatment for a calf-muscle strain.

The Scottish Rugby Union yesterday denied any contravention of International Board regulations which state: 'Any player unable to participate without the administration of drugs or injections to relieve pain or acute illness must be considered unfit to play.'

The SRU said they deplored allegations in a Scottish Sunday newspaper that Chalmers had been put under pressure to take the field against the All Blacks, and added: 'Mr Chalmers was receiving an agreed course of ongoing treatment.

'Following consultation between the player and the team chartered physiotherapist and general practitioner Dr J T Robson the scheduled medication for the Saturday morning was given by injection rather than by tablet.

'This routine consultation and the decision to change from a tablet to an injection took place without the knowledge or involvement of the other members of the team management. Mr Chalmers did not require the injection in order to take the field but was merely completing his course of medication.'

The SRU chief executive Bill Hogg said last night: 'Chalmers was not given an injection to kill pain, but the team management should have been informed about the change in the way treatment was administered. That is the only thing wrong in this whole procedure.'

The incident has acutely embarrassed Scotland, who are at the forefront of a campaign to introduce legislation adopted last year and aimed at highlighting the effect the use of painkillers can have on a player in later life.

Mike Hall, the Wales centre, yesterday passed a fitness test on a groin muscle he pulled in training earlier in the week, and will line up against Scotland tomorrow.

Stephen McKinty, the versatile uncapped Bangor loose-forward, was a late addition to the Ireland squad that flew to Paris yesterday for their game against France tomorrow. He was called in as cover for the lock Neil Francis and the flanker Mick Galwey.