Drugs in rugby in New Zealand will not be tolerated and
work will continue to stamp out cheats, New Zealand Rugby Union
chief executive Steve Tew says.
Tew told the Otago Daily Times yesterday the union has
an active drug-testing policy, and wants drug-free sport.
''We know what we want. We have worked very hard to get it
and if there is more to do then we will keep doing it,'' he
''We have a very close working relationship with Drugfree
Sport New Zealand and we run a comprehensive drug-testing
campaign,'' he said.
''But we know if people want to cheat there is a way round
the system. I do not think that there is a problem in New
Zealand but we do not want to be complacent.''
The NZRU carried out both in-competition and
An elite group of players were on 24-hour notice. Those
players had to tell a drug agency where they were for the
next 24 hours.
''So if you change your holiday plans and are in the wrong
place then you can have a real problem. We work really hard
at it but ultimately there are things we could do better and
we will have a watch on it.
''As we have seen in other sports, such as cycling, if people
want to cheat they will find a way to do it, particularly
when there is big money involved. We would like to think we
have got a system in place that has worked.
''But players make mistakes. Drug cheating is not always
about deliberate actions, either. I have a child in a
high-performance sport too, and they have to be vigilant in
all what they eat and drink.''
Tew said the report released in Australia by the Australian
Crime Commission last week had cast a shadow over all sports
which he thought was unfortunate.
Tew was at the launch of this year's Super 15 season on a
stifling Auckland day which hardly seemed suitable weather
for the winter game.
He acknowledged in an ideal world the season would start two
to three weeks later. But with what the rugby union had to do
over a year and how it had to fit in with other unions the
season started when it did.
Ultimately, it came down to whether the games were any good
at this time of year, Tew said.
''If the games are good footy, if the new rules work and we
see some good close encounters then it won't be too early,
will it? People I am talking to can't wait.''
New laws will include a new scrum engagement, the five-second
rule around releasing the ball from the back of the ruck,
seen in domestic rugby last year, while the third match
official will have more power, including ruling on some
Tew said the jury was still out on giving more power to the
third match official.
''Ultimately, there is going to be an element of human
judgement in our game. You want to give the referees the best
possible chance to perform well in a collision-oriented sport
played at an incredible pace under a complicated set of
''So we want to make it a little bit better with the use of
technology. But we are not going to get too carried away with