Dan Carter drug confusion: How did we get to this point?

By Dylan Cleaver

Anomalies in the blood tests of former All Blacks Dan Carter and Joe Rokocoko do not appear to be as confusing as the anomalies in how the alleged adverse findings saw the light of day.

Graeme Steel, the chief executive of Drug Free Sport New Zealand, has read a translation of the L'Equipe story and remains unsure how we have got to this point.

The French newspaper is claiming there are "anomalies" in surprise drug tests undertaken by former All Blacks Carter and Rokocoko on the eve of this year's France Top 14 final.

However, the players' management say the pair had the correct clearance for the use of prescribed medication including lodging therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) with authorities.

Simon Porter, a player manager from the Essentially Group, which represent both players, said he has been aware of the bubbling story since the final in Spain on June 24.

"We have been aware of the issue for a few weeks. Our understanding and assurances we've had are all the documents around TUEs were in place."

If that was the case, Steel said, no further examination of the case is required.

"If there was a TUE in place that's the first port of call [for testers]," he said. "That's the first check you make. So long as the TUE matches what's in the result, it goes away again. It's just a normal part of the process."



Steel would also question why a 'positive' test for a corticosteroid on the eve of a match would have any relevance. A treatment like cortisone, which it is probable Carter and Rokocoko were prescribed after recovering from calf and knee injuries respectively, is not prohibited out of competition.

"You only look for it in an in-competition test," Steel said. "If it was found the night before competition, it can still have time to clear.
"There are quite a few treatments that are not prohibited at all times."

Cortisone is an anti-inflammatory and evidence of its performance-enhancing properties are scant. It is known to be abused in cycling, however, particularly in the Grand Tours, where its anti-inflammatory effects can help over three weeks in the saddle.

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