The International Rugby Board has announced that Namibia international Andre de Klerk has received an eight-year sanction after committing a second anti-doping rule violation while serving a sanction for his first anti-doping offence.
De Klerk tested positive for the anabolic agent Testosterone in August 2011 following an Out of Competition test conducted three months before his original sanction of two years was due to expire.
The 21-year-old said his finding for Testosterone was a result of him using the supplement “Animal Stak".
De Klerk's first doping offence was committed in 2009 after testing positive for the anabolic agent Methandienone while on senior international duty for Namibia. The offence automatically put him in the IRB’s Out of Competition Testing Pool and subject to random Out of Competition testing anywhere, anytime.
IRB Anti-Doping Manager Tim Ricketts said: “The main message to come from this error is that all Players must be diligent in checking all nutritional supplements to ensure that they do not contain any banned substances. Under the strict liability principle a player is responsible for any prohibited substance found in their system."
"This was a wholly avoidable situation and one that has significantly hampered what promised to be a budding international career. This case highlights a strong message to all young players aspiring to be bigger, faster, stronger, that you must obtain good advice around using supplements and any attempt to take short cuts are just not worth it."
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Players must exercise extreme caution around the use of supplements and as a guide should consider the following as part of their risk assessment.
Players who insist on using nutritional supplements should consider the following risk assessment prior to using any supplement:
1. Seek expert guidance to assess your dietary and performance needs from an appropriately qualified person.
2. Is there any valid evidence that the supplement you feel you need to take really works? Many of the claimed benefits are not clearly supported by scientific research.
3. Be wary of products that claim to increase strength, muscle mass or weight loss.
4. Research well-known products/brands.
5. Read the label and list of ingredients very carefully and check them against the WADA Prohibited List.
6. Avoid purchasing supplements over the Internet.
7. Avoid sharing supplements with fellow players or friends.
8. Avoid purchasing supplements from a manufacturer who also produces supplements that contain or are known to contain Prohibited Substances.
9. Have the supplement tested by a laboratory to ensure the batch does not contain any Prohibited Substances prior to using it.
Strict Liability – A player is solely responsible for any Prohibited Substances found to be present in his or her body. It is not necessary that intent or fault on the player’s part be shown in order for an anti-doping rule violation to be established. Nor is lack of intent a defence to testing positive to a Prohibited Substance because of a contaminated supplement.