Former Wales international Gavin Henson says players who test positive for performance enhancing substances should be send to prison to serve time for ‘stealing a living’.
In a candid interview with WalesOnline, the outspoken 38-year-old, who earned 34 Test caps (33 for Wales and one for the British & Irish Lions), called on authorities to hand down harsher punishments drug cheats.
‘For me, I feel the rule that should be in place is if you get caught taking drugs it should be a jail sentence, because you are stealing a living. You are taking money from someone else,’ Henson told WalesOnline.
The former flyhalf, who played professionally in Wales, England and France, claims that he has witnessed irregularities amongst his own teammates.
‘I’ve been in an environment where the drug testers come in and there’s one or two boys who run out. That’s happened at professional level. How it is acceptable, I don’t know, but as a player you can’t do anything about it.’
‘It made me angry. Boys are cheating and those kind of things give you such an advantage. There are boys who have had careers on the back of taking stuff that has cost other players international places, or even club team places, which is really lucrative.
‘One or two boys were quite open and honest about it but there’s no proof. There was always changing room talk but unless you are a doctor or something you can’t prove it.’
Late last year, Warren Gatland revealed he may have had suspicions about a Welsh international during his 12-year reign as Wales coach, based mainly on jokes made about the player. And Henson believes an investigation should have been launched after Gatland’s comments.
‘For a coach to say what Gatland did, I felt like there should be an investigation, but there we go.’
Springbok and Lions wing Aphiwe Dyantyi tested positive for a banned substance last year and the BBC recently published a report titled: ‘Steriods at 16 – South Africa’s schoolboy rugby scene faces a widespread doping problem’.
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