Bok players wait on doping verdict

Springbok rugby players Chiliboy Ralepelle and Bjorn Basson will have to wait before hearing whether they will escape a ban for taking a banned substance last year.

The pair attended a three-and-a-half hour South African Rugby Union (Saru) judicial committee hearing in Cape Town on Tuesday, with Saru announcing in a press release that judgement had been reserved in the case.

The Saru statement said the verdict would be announced when the three-man committee, comprising two advocates and a doctor, had completed its deliberations.

It did not specify when this was likely to be.

Ralepelle and Basson were sent home and suspended from all rugby after failing a random anti-doping test following South Africa’s 23-21 win over Ireland in Dublin on November 6.

A test of their “B” samples in December confirmed they took the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine.

At the time of the tests, methylhexaneamine was classified as a “specified” banned substance, but it was re-classified as “non-specified”, effective from January 1.

The penalty for taking a banned substance can range from a caution to a two-year ban.

Nutritional supplements
The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) explained that the change was because the substance had appeared in a number of nutritional supplements and was therefore subject to potential inadvertent use by athletes.

The two Springboks claimed after their test results were released that they were “disappointed and shocked”, while team officials said they believed the players had unknowingly ingested the substance through a nutritional supplement taken by all the players.

Ralepelle (24) became the first black player to captain the Springboks when he led them against a World XV in a non-Test game in Leicester in December 2006. A hooker, he has played in 18 Test matches, mainly as a substitute.

Speedy wing Basson (23) sprang to prominence during 2010, making his Springbok debut and scoring a record 21 tries for unfashionable Griqualand West in the Currie Cup.

His performances earned him a contract to play for the powerful Blue Bulls franchise in 2011.—AFP

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