Former England World Cup winning captain Martin Johnson believes there are concerns surrounding doping in rugby as he distances himself from a return to the sport.
Johnson believes doping wasn’t a problem in his playing days, but the increased changes the game has undergone sees more of a threat of players turning to illegal substances to boost performance.
“When I started playing, did I think anyone around the international team was [using drugs]? No chance,” Johnson told The Times. “Some of them didn’t even train properly; performance-enhancing drugs wasn’t in the culture of the game.
“Would you be worried about it now? Absolutely. Things are more available, the internet, knowledge of it is more widespread. People go to gyms now to look good; 25 years ago, there were hardly any gyms to go to. People are taking them, by all account, for vanity reasons.”
He added: “Now the game is professional and we live in a different time where kids can see a livelihood and a good livelihood out of doing it, then you’ve got to be very careful.”
Johnson won five Premiership titles with Leicester and two Heineken Cups before adding the World Cup with England in 2003. He failed to reach the same heights as coach of England, where he left after a defeat to France at the 2011 World Cup.
And although there are many who would like to see him back in the game, Johnson says a return is currently unlikely.
“It’s not burning in me to get back into the game,” Johnson said. “Why do we feel these things? I don’t know. When you go to a game — I was at the Ireland-England game — when you smell a Test match, you get the old feeling for it, but I am not desperate to get back into it. I maybe can’t explain it. I’m just not feeling it.”
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Martin Johnson concerned over doping in rugby
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