Ex-Ireland lock: Springbok World Cup win tainted by drug abuse

Springboks Rugby World Cup (Getty Images)
Springboks Rugby World Cup (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Former Ireland lock Neil Francis says an asterisk should be put next to the Springboks' Rugby World Cup win because of drug abuse.

Francis, who played 36 Tests for Ireland between 1987 to 1996, shared his views via a column for the Irish Independent.

Francis, nowadays a rugby pundit, said he is "fairly certain" there is a "steroid culture" in South Africa after Springbok wing Aphiwe Dyantyi tested positive for "multiple" banned substances earlier this year.

Francis wrote: "How certain are we when we point a finger to suggest there is a steroid culture in a country that has just won the World Cup? Fairly certain," Francis wrote.

"Is Dyantyi, a poster boy for the World Cup and winner of World Rugby’s young player of the year (in 2018), the only one? Or the only one to be caught?

"The player in my view will go down but the system stays in place. What were we saying about latitude and dispensation? Do we need to put an asterisk beside the winners of the 2019 World Cup?"

Dyantyi was at a Springbok training camp in July when the South African Institute for Drug Free Sport (SAIDS) informed the speedster that an adverse analytical finding had been detected in a sample collected.

Dyantyi, who was provisionally suspended in light of the finding, exercised his right to have his 'B'-sample analysed.

That 'B' sample also returned a positive finding and he now faces a four-year ban.

- Compiled by Herman Mostert

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