Doping Bans Imposed On Rugby Players

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) has announced amateur Scottish rugby player, Darren Eales, has been suspended from all sport for a period of two years after he was found guilty of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation. In another development, UKAD suspended rugby league player from Gloucester, Daniel Spencer-Tonks, from all sport for four years following an Anti-Doping Rule Violation.

Darren Eales rugby

The 22-year-old Eales tested positive for exogenous anabolic androgenic steroids Boldenone, Trenbolone, and Oxymetholone (and their various metabolites) following an out-of-competition test on 19 November 2014. This was after intelligence information was received by Scottish Rugby about the alleged use of banned substances by the prop forward. Eales is banned from all competition from 11 December 2014 until 10 December 2016.

UKAD’s Director of Operations Pat Myhill remarked the successful prosecution of Darren Eales came as a result of UKAD’s Intelligence and Investigations team receiving information from Scottish Rugby about the player’s use of anabolic steroids. Myhill added it is through this partnership, and by sharing information, that once again we are able to rid the game of an athlete who deliberately goes against the values of clean sport. The UKAD’s Director of Operations added the case of Darren Eales clearly demonstrates that regardless of the level, sports themselves will not tolerate those who decide to intentionally dope and those who go against the spirit of the game they love.

Scottish Rugby’s Head of Regulation, Graham Ireland, remarked Scottish Rugby has a zero-tolerance policy on doping through a robust testing and education program, and working in partnership with clubs, anti-doping agencies and other governing bodies. He added Scottish Rugby is committed to ensuring the game in Scotland is kept clean. Graham Ireland further added there have been over 1200 drugs tests in Scottish Rugby since the 2009-2010 season, at all levels of the game, with some 246 in season 2014/15. The Scottish Rugby’s Head of Regulation also remarked this violation is a firm reminder that testing can occur at any level of the game, anywhere and at any time and added Scottish Rugby encourages anyone with intelligence as to doping offences to contact UK Anti-Doping or Scottish Rugby.

The 20-year-old Spencer-Tonks, who plays for Gloucestershire All Golds in Kingstone Press League One, tested positive for metabolites of the exogenous anabolic androgenic steroid, Stanozolol, following an out-of-competition test on 17 February 2015. He is banned from all competition from 17 February 2015 to 16 February 2019.

UKAD Director of Operations Pat Myhill, commenting on the suspension of Spencer-Tonks, said Daniel Spencer-Tonks is the second person in the UK to receive a mandatory four year ban under the 2015 WADA Code. Daniel is a young man and his decision to take steroids has greatly impacted on his sporting career. Myhill added the new tougher sanctions ensure that those who consciously choose to cheat, and ultimately keep clean players from their rightful place in the team, will be removed from sport for a longer period of time and also said he hopes this will act as a greater deterrent to those who are considering cheating in the future.

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