tremendous increase Drug-testing experts have noticed a tremendous increase in the size, strength, and speed of players in international rugby since the sport went professional in 1995. Surveys done in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa have indicated that among the young, steroid use is much greater than 10 per cent. However, in these countries, there’s a paucity of drug testing in schools and clubs, where the temptation to dope is high, due to the reluctance of doping authorities to test in schools, and the relatively little financial resources to extend testing to clubs, not involved in international competition. In Jamaica, the new and impressive JADCO website gives no indication of testing by sport, so we do not know if rugby is one of the many sports under the scrutiny of the local testing agency. What we do know is that when it comes to doping, there is a very obvious ‘Catch 22’: Take it seriously and catch people (because there are cheats in every area of human activity), or pretend to take it seriously and catch nobody. Do the former and you have a drug problem. do the latter and no problem – until a superstar makes a mistake and the edifice of propriety collapses. British online media have been reporting on the out-of-competition activities of a Jamaican superstar, with a letter writer to a Jamaican newspaper wondering about the possibility of the superstar imbibing ‘spiked’ drinks at one of the establishments where he has been filmed. This concern ties in with the allegation in Jamaica that sporting superstars have been known to order take-out food in their own name and personally come to pick it up minutes later. The national disaster that would accompany a subsequent test that revealed an adverse analytical finding in a test done after a meal spiked by (paid) accomplices of jealous competitors would demand that JADCO-sponsored seminars re the dangers of using banned substances and supplements be mandatory for elite athletes, with serious sanctions for those who consistently ‘have other engagements’ when these seminars are put on. No one wants to curtail the fun of any young sports superstar, but the fact that young, rich stars attract friends with ulterior motives cannot and must not be overstressed and ignored. A word to the wise is sufficient. The World Championships in rugby enters its knockout stage this week, with the main stories focusing on the capitulation of the England team to Australia in a dramatic win-or-go-home match, thus becoming the first host to be eliminated from the competition before the quarter-finals; and the claims by a 20-year-old British player, Daniel Spencer-Tonks, that doping “is widespread” in the sport. Spencer-Tonks is a former under-15 international player, who was caught using the banned steroid stanozolol in February this year and who received a four-year ban from the United Kingdom Anti-Doping Agency (UKAD). As can be expected, the anti-doping testers in rugby in Britain have trotted out their statistics to reveal that of all the tests done, in and out of competition, only about 10 per cent reveal adverse analytical findings. They also state that more than 50 per cent of their tests are based on information received (target testing). This contrast (‘widespread doping’ versus ‘less than 10 per cent of tests positive’) highlights the belief that a significant percentage of sportsmen (and women) throughout all sports are using dope to cope with the demands of professional sports.
Saints face Salford Red Devils in a Heaven vs Hell clash on Friday at the Totally Wicked Stadium with kick off at 7:45pm and Costello is again included in Holbrook’s 19 man squad ahead of the game.Costello grabbed his first Saints tries in a hat-trick in the win over Catalans at the end of April and the 21-year-old has been pleased to be given the chance to come into the side.“Yes, I have been very pleased [with the opportunity]. Unfortunately Percy [Mark Percival] got injured, but it has provided a few opportunities for me to go and play and I am enjoying it. It’s going well.“I hadn’t scored before that and to score three in one game I have never done that before for Saints, so yes I was very happy. I am pleased [with my form]. I want to get a bit sharper and improving each week, but I am happy with how it is going.”On Salford, ‘Cozzy’ admits the Saints have done our homework on Friday’s visitors given the dangers they have in their ranks.“Salford are really good side, he continued.“They have lots of dangerous players in their side and we have done a lot of video on them this week. It is about getting up fr the task tomorrow.” Holbrook on @SalfordDevils dangers, @TheChallengeCup draw and a huge to the Saints fans for their support! There’s also an injury update on @Luketommo1 @MarkPercival22 and @LouieMS14 in the link below https://t.co/uvpNOLxD8Y#saintsandproud pic.twitter.com/qWsJG0ZzQd— St.Helens R.F.C. (@Saints1890) May 15, 2019Costello is hoping he can retain his place for the Dacia Magic Weekend clash with Castleford Tigers at Anfield on Sunday 26th May where Saints fans can take advantage of the Flash Sale 50% discounted tickets.“It will be massive I am not a Liverpool fan, but it is a mad stadium to play at and it’s different to our usual week to week stadiums, so it will be a big test.”NEXT UP FOR SAINTS AT THE TOTALLY WICKED STADIUM IS A HEAVEN VS HELL CLASH WITH SALFORD RED DEVILS ON FRIDAY MAY 17TH WITH A 7:45PM KICK OFF. YOU CAN BUY TICKETS FOR THE GAME ONLINE HERE, OR BY CALLING INTO THE TICKET OFFICE AT THE TOTALLY WICKED STADIUM.