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Highlights on Off The Ball


"It is an educated workforce among Irish rugby" | James Cronin ban

Ruaidhri O'Connor of the Irish Independent was the guest on Wednesday Night Rugby on Off The Ball...

Ruaidhri O'Connor of the Irish Independent was the guest on Wednesday Night Rugby on Off The Ball looking at the James Cronin doping ban.

The Munster prop was punished for what European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) deemed an 'unintentional anti-doping violation' last November. The failed test was put down to “a third-party dispensing error by a pharmacy”.

The report found Cronin had a "low level of fault" and concluded the player was due a one month ban from 15 April until May 16.

This will be reviewed by the World Anti Doping Authority, as is standard in a case such as this.


"Although Anthony Davies (the report's author) has said he was very sympathetic towards Cronin," says O'Connor.

"He does go on to say 'this could have been avoided if the player and his doctor had put better safeguards in place.'

"I believe players have a level of education about this. They know when they are in the academy if they are taking medication, they need to be checking it.

"There is a WADA app that is freely available where they can put the medication into it, to check. It is an educated workforce among Irish rugby professionals."

"We can all be guilty of trusting doctors and pharmacists and sometimes being unquestioning to them, but it's your career, it's your body. You have got to know what is going into it."

As reported the ban will be looked into by WADA and the Irish Sports Council as to whether the ban is sufficient, it's the length of the ban that O'Connor sees causing the most ire online.

"If there are any qualms about the length of the ban, which has driven much of the outcry online, that will be determined by WADA and World Rugby, who now have a decision to make as to whether they pursue this to CAS," notes O'Connor.

'This is a neutral body (WADA) looking at this and see that it (the original report) was rugby investigating rugby and they might look at and find that it's better or that it's worse but that's their prerogative now."

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CAS James Cronin Munster Wada