The Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Rugby Union, Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea’i, has swiftly moved to distant Manu Samoa players – sevens and 15s – from claims that many professional players are using cocaine.
“I can assure you with the current Manu Samoa team, I don’t think anybody is involved with any drugs as far as I am concerned,” he told the Samoa Observer.
“Nowadays there are all compulsory random drug tests, so I think any rugby player will be really silly to be involved in any drugs at all.”
The C.E.O. made the comment in response to claims made by former Manu Samoa, Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, about the use of cocaine in professional rugby circles.
The claim initially surfaced in a tweet last week where the lawyer by profession, Fuimaono-Sapolu, was responding to a tweet by Welsh Rugby writer, Paul Williams, slamming Samoan rugby player, Karmichael Hunt, for using cocaine.
“You’ll find loads of ballers do it. Heaps in Super Rugby, including some of your favorite All Blacks,” Fuimaono tweeted back.
Fuimaono-Sapolu later explained to the Samoa Observer that rugby players turn to drugs such as cocaine as a way to get a buzz without the added fat you would get from drinking alcohol.
He added his tweet was done in defense of Karmichael Hunt from what he felt was an unfair attack by the media.
Asked for a comment, Faleomavaega said from his experience in the world of rugby, he does not believe the claim.
“Well I wasn’t in the professional era so I don’t think there were any drugs used in my time when I was playing international rugby,” he said.
“At the professional level where he (Fuimaono-Sapolu) has been playing has a different take on his part.”
Faleomavaega also assured Samoa that our boys in blue are clean of any drugs.
“I can assure you with the current Manu Samoa team, I don’t think anybody is involved with any drugs as far as I am concerned,” he said.
“Nowadays there are all compulsory random drug tests, so I think any rugby player will be really silly to be involved in any drugs at all.
“As far as I know, all our Manu Samoa players are clean.”
Asked if Samoa’s rugby players have ever been caught using drugs of any kind, Faleomavaega says only accidental detection from over-the-counter drugs have occurred.
“Not the hard drugs that he’s mentioning,” he said.
“But there are players being caught from medicine. There are some medicine that’s been used by players that they don’t allow.
“It’s probably accidental (medicine) that they would use or taking antibiotics that probably comes under regulated drugs.
“But other than that, I don’t think there is anybody who I can recall being here that has been caught red handed taking those kinds of drugs like cocaine, marijuana or meth.”
Faleomavaega adds random drug tests are conducted every time the boys take to the field.
“Any time Manu Samoa plays, there are people from the drug agency who turn up randomly and do the drug tests,” he said.
“It is not us who does that, it is done by authorities randomly.”