Bok Ralepelle to fight another doping charge

2014-06-10 00:00

WHILE the International Rugby Board (IRB) yesterday retreated behind protocol on the charge that Springbok-hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle had tested positive for a banned anabolic steroid, his club and Toulouse and Ralepelle are set to fight to clear his name.

It is the second dope test the 27-year-old Ralepelle had failed in his career.

If he fails to clear his name, he will be suspended for two years.

Planet Rugby reports Ralepelle tested positive for Drostanolone, an anabolic steroid that is often used in bodybuilding, in an out-of-competition test conducted by the IRB’s anti-doping team on March 19.

Ralepelle, who missed a large part of the 2012 Test season because of injury, is currently again 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 body building drug after undergoing knee surgery on February 20. 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 French newspaper L’Equipe.

“Moreover, I cannot sanction a player if there is no final judgment. But if it turns out he knowingly took illegal substances, we would be intransigent.”

In 2010 Ralepelle and Springbok team-mate Bjorn Basson tested positive for methylhexanamine. Both were cleared by the South African Rugby Union after it was found that the stimulant was in a supplement given to the players. Saru had apologised to Ralepelle and Basson for the “stress and stigma of cheating” they suffered.

Yesterday, spokesperson for the IRB James Fitzgerald said the board’s protocols forbids it from commenting on the matter.

Ralepelle was the SA Under 19 Player of the Year in 2005 and made his Test the next year against the All Blacks in New Zealand, aged 19. He went on to captain the Boks against the World XV in 2006 in Leicester, England, but played the last of his 22 Tests for the Bokke in June last year, coming off the bench against Italy in Durban. He has since not been part Bok coach of Heyneke Meyer’s plans.

Saru yesterday said it was aware of the reports, but could not comment on a disciplinary process in the IRB.

Gerrie Swart, Ralepelle’s agent, could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press. — WR.

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