Doping comments labelled 'degrading' by players’ union for French rugby

Former international prop Laurent Benezech claimed that doping is rife

The players’ union for French rugby, Provale, yesterday released a statement denouncing allegations from former international prop Laurent Benezech that doping is rife in French rugby as “degrading”.

The release was prompted by comments from Benezech that Bayonne back-rower Francois Carillo’s heart condition which prompted the player’s recent retirement could be linked to the use of human growth hormone.

A statement from Provale said: "Suggesting that all rugby players today are taking human growth hormone based on anatomical observations or worse, suggesting the Francois Carillo drama is related to doping, is degrading for the one who says it and unacceptable for rugby players."

The original insinuation came from an interview that Benezech gave to the Le Monde newspaper. In it the ex-Harlequin and Top 14 champion with Racing Metro said that comments alluding to Carillo facing health risks because of his size and the strain on his body were wide of the mark, going on to say that in French rugby “we can't say that we weren't warned" about the potential for doping.

Benezech also said that the way the game has evolved over a short period of time is similar to changes seen in professional cycling during the 90s.

"We went from 20 minutes of effective action [in open play] to 30 minutes at the end of the 1990s which was the normal evolution due to the players becoming professionals," he said. “But now we're explaining, even though we're already at 40 minutes, that we can hit 50 and even 60.

"That is what happened in cycling at the end of the 1990s when logic saw us lengthening the Tour de France's stages and increasing the difficulties without it posing any problems physically to the riders."

Provale have since called for Benezech to provide proof to support his claims. "It is up to those who accuse to prove their assertions and not for sportsmen to incessantly demonstrate their good faith in the face of rumours.”

There has been increased discussion surrounding doping in rugby in France with former France scrum-half Jean-Pierre Elissalde claimed last week that he had doped during his career and that amphetamines were widely taken in the sport during the 1970s and 1980s.

Contention was also created last week by French anti-doping agency (AFLD) director of testing Francoise Lasne, who claimed rugby had returned the highest proportion of positive tests in France in 2012. However, this was found from only 588 controlled tests with the French Rugby Federation pointing to only two lengthy bans being handed out as punishment. This prompted Provale to state: "If, with two doped players, rugby is the sport most affected by doping then that is good news for sport in France."

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'