Chiliboy Ralepelle informed the Sharks of the process unfolding after hearing he had returned a positive test for a banned substance. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
Ralepelle has yet to play for the Sharks this season, and has been recovering from a reported injury, but the Springbok hooker has been linked with an adverse finding from a random drugs test conducted during the pre-season.
SARugbymag.co.za understands that after Ralepelle’s A-sample tested positive following testing from the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS), he informed the Sharks of his situation and has since stood down from any involvement at the franchise as the due process unfolds.
Saids CEO Khalid Galant has told SARugbymag.co.za that neither the player nor the substance can be named until both samples test positive, with Ralepelle retaining the right to ask that his B-sample be tested.
Due to the legalities and player rights involved, the Sharks have also stated that they are not in a position to respond to a request for feedback.
‘Teams are governed by Saids’ legal process and as such the Sharks have no comment at this stage,’ a spokesperson commented.
When contacted, an SA Rugby spokesman stated that they were similarly bound by such guidelines.
While Ralepelle has not officially been named by any organisation, this is not the first time he has been embroiled in such a saga. Back in 2015, he was suspended for two years for a doping offence.
It dated back to an out-of-competition doping control test taken the year before, when he was recovering from an operation on an anterior cruciate ligament following a knee injury he had sustained while playing for Toulouse against Biarritz in France.
The analysis of the sample returned a positive test for a metabolite of an anabolic steroid, drostanolone, which was contained on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of prohibited substances.
‘World Rugby operates a zero-tolerance policy on doping and players are responsible for any prohibited substance found in their body,’ World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper told World Rugby’s official anti-doping website at the time.
‘Rugby is founded on fair play and the promotion of a level playing field for all players. This particular case illustrates the rigorous anti-doping programme World Rugby implements in conjunction with WADA, both in and out of competition.’
In 2010, Ralepelle and fellow Bok Bjorn Basson also tested positive for methylhexanamine, but were found to not be at fault, as the substance was apparently contained in Springbok-approved supplements.
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