Munster and Ireland legend Ronan O'Gara, who now coaches Racing 92 in France, has spoken out about the anomalies in drugs tests returned by three of the club's players, former All Blacks Dan Carter and Joe Rokococo and Argentina outside back Juan Imhoff. The trio tested positive for steroids and in the aftermath of the positive results Carter and Rokococo's management said they had been prescribed TUEs only for Racing to turn around and deny that TUEs were necessary in the scenario.
A controversy surrounding Toulon's alleged medical activities last year will still be fresh in French rugby fans' memories but in an interview with Brendan Fanning of the Indo, O'Gara denied there was any cause for concern at Racing.
I've been in the meetings and I'm fully aware of exactly what's gone on. There's 60-80 of these administered in a year - an injection into a joint - and that's exactly what it is. Every player gets tested after a final, that's the rule. And there were three readings showing a corticoid and the readings are extremely low. And if you have an explanation as to why you administered them then it's a non-story.
O'Gara said that he would be "out the door" if there were any suspicious practices at the club, and admitted he had been "rattled" by the rugby world's response to the situation, calling it a "massive attack on your character" that people were labelling Racing players "cheats".
While he said there are no issues within Racing, that doesn't mean he thinks rugby is free from doping.
I have no doubt that one of the challenges facing rugby is steroid abuse, but this is an anti-inflammatory. I think growth hormone is an issue in the game and it's something I feel very strong on. But to attack the character of three players like that, with very little information, is a very sad state of affairs that the game is in.
O'Gara's Racing team are set to face Munster in their opening Champions Cup clash on 16th October.