Drugs, rugby and a very Welsh problem: How steroids infected the game

A rugby player has described how he was encouraged by people in his club to take performance-enhancing drugs before getting an unprompted phone call from a supplier. Today we reveal the extent of the drugs problem in Welsh rugby.

As part of our investigation, we have:

  • Spoken to players, ex-players and coaches who've described just how big they believe Welsh rugby's drugs problem to be;
  • Heard stories of players being warned to stay away, or leave, training sessions because the "red coats" (the name given by players to UKAD drug testers) are due;
  • Heard Welsh rugby described as "infamous" for its doping problem by someone on the other side of the world;
  • Heard the concerns of a cardiologist over the "growing epidemic of image- and performance-enhancing drug use" in south Wales.

"I was told I had to put on weight and there were different methods that could help," says one currently banned Welsh rugby player, speaking on condition of anonymity. "I'd jumped from a low level and got offered [the chance] to play at a higher level but I wasn't really ready." Those "different methods" were performance-enhancing drugs. And the people pushing them were involved with the coaching setup at his club.

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