Warren Gatland has admitted he had suspicions that a Welsh player had been using performance enhancing drugs.

The issue of doping has been one of interest in recent weeks in the rugby world, and in an interview with Off the Ball, the former Welsh coach said in his time at the helm, there was one player he coached who he was suspicious of.

"You know I haven't come across personally any players that I've coached from a Wales perspective that I would - well sorry, maybe one. Maybe one, now that I think about it."

When asked if the person in question played for Wales, Gatland responded: "He may have done, yeah."

Gatland clarified by pointing out that he had no hard proof that the player was doping, but that teammates had made jokes about it.

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"It's probably a little bit unfair of me to say I had suspicions about one of them because I've got no evidence or anything like that.

"Because it's kind of like just saying, 'Is there a possibility?'... It was more like a couple of people making jokes sort of thing. And you go, 'Oh is that…'

"Truth in humour?," presenter Joe Molloy asked. "Yeah, exactly," Gatland responded.

The issue of performance enhancing drugs has become a talking point in rugby after former Ireland player Neil Francis wrote a scathing column for the Irish Times which said saying the sporting world can be "fairly certain" that there is a "steroid culture in a country that has just won the World Cup".

Ahead of the tournament, South Africa saw young winger Aphiwe Dyantyi suspended after testing positive for a banned substance. Dyantyi was tested at a Springbok training camp in early July. It was initially reported that he had a hamstring problem, but in late August it was revealed he had returned a positive test.

Dyantyi, who could be banned for four years, protested his innocence saying he had never cheated and "taking any prohibited substance would not only be irresponsible and something that I would never intentionally do, it would also be senseless and stupid."

Warren Gatland coached Wales for the best part of the last decade. Photo / Getty Images
Warren Gatland coached Wales for the best part of the last decade. Photo / Getty Images

But Francis argued that the test results painted a very different picture.

"Dyantyi's statement was released immediately after his A sample results became public. It was a robust riposte," Francis wrote.

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"When the B sample results became known it was a bombshell - not one but three prohibited substances: Methandienone, Methyltestosterone and Ligandrol or LGD 4033.
"In my opinion that's game, set and match. It is not the cocktail of drugs that will do him, it is how the cocktail works in conjunction with each other that is so damning."

Gatland addressed Francis' claims during his interview with Off the Ball, and said it was hard to know what Francis was trying to achieve with his piece.

"I thought Francis was pretty hard hitting in terms of the article he wrote about the South Africans… I kind of thought 'was it being journalistic, or was it trying to take the gloss off South Africa or was it bitterness as well?' I'm not sure about that."