Toulouse hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle is set to fight to clear his name after failing a dope test for the second time in his career.
The 27-year-old faces a two-year suspension after reportedly testing positive for Drostanalone, an anabolic steroid that is often used in bodybuilding, in an out-of-competition test conducted by the IRB's anti-doping team on 19 March.
Ralepelle is currently out of action after tearing knee ligaments in a Top 14 game against Biarritz and insists that he did not voluntarily ingest the substance.
Drostanolone, marketed as Masteron, can produce similar effects to testosterone and is on the IRB's banned list of substances. While it has been used as a breast cancer drug and to lower cholesterol, body builders are known to ingest it close to competition in order to improve muscle hardness and density.
It would not have made sense for Ralepelle to take a bodybuilding drug after undergoing knee surgery on 20 February. L'Equipe reports that the 22-Test international will also point to low levels of the substance in his defence.
'For now, I insist on the fact that Chiliboy is presumed innocent,' Toulouse president René Bouscatel told L'Equipe. 'Moreover, I cannot sanction a player if there is no final judgement. But if it turns out he knowingly took illegal substances, we would be intransigent.'
This is also not the first time Ralepelle has been tested positive, after he and Springbok team-mate Bjorn Basson were found to have a banned substance – methylhexanamine – in their system during the Springboks' November tour in 2010. Both were cleared by the South African Rugby Union (Saru) after it was found that the stimulant was in a supplement given to the players.
Photo: Remy Gabalda/AFP Photo