Peter Wright: Scottish rugby doesn’t have ‘dope culture’

Peter Wright welcomed the long ban handed out to former Marr prop Andrew Acton.
Peter Wright welcomed the long ban handed out to former Marr prop Andrew Acton.
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Former Scotland and Lions prop Peter Wright is confident that there is no “culture” of doping in Scottish rugby as he welcomed the news that former Marr prop Andrew Acton has been banned for nearly four years after testing positive for anabolic steroids.

The Boroughmuir coach believes the SRU has by and large got things right in recent years with the system they have, in association with UK Anti-Doping, to police with appropriate vigilance. However, Wright says he doesn’t see it as being a major issue in the game here.

“I honestly don’t think there is a culture of it in Scotland in contrast to some other countries, Wales being an example recently with the number of bans they’ve handed out,” said the man who was capped 21 times in the 1990s and toured with the 1993 Lions.

“The only real big one we’ve had is Craig Chalmers’ lad Sam a few years back. In all my years in club rugby it’s never been anything I’ve suspected to be happening. Certainly all the clubs I was involved with as a player and coach… well culturally it just wasn’t there.”

Craig Chalmers spoke about his son’s case – he served a two-year ban after testing positive for steroids while with Scotland Under-20s – in an interview with The Scotsman at the weekend. The Grand Slam hero said: “He was under pressure from coaches to bulk up,” says Chalmers. “He got in with the wrong people and made a bad decision which cost him dearly. He regrets it but has done his time, helping with doping awareness.”

South African prop Acton, 22, was immediately suspended by BT Premiership club Marr and has since left the Ayrshire club after a test he provided at a training session last August was confirmed positive for the prohibited substance stanozolol-N-glucuronide on 8 September, the day before the club season began. On Monday he was banned from all sport for three years and nine months.

Meanwhile, just a day after it was revealed South-African-born Scotland No 8 Cornell du Preez would leave Edinburgh at the end of the season for cost reasons, Worcester Warriors annoucned he will be joining them. Former Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons is the director of rugby at Sixways.

Du Preez’s fellow back-row David Denton, who came on in Scotland 32-26 win over France on Saturday, is to leave Worcester in the summer.