Eight sanctioned for anti-doping violations

(IRB.COM) Thursday 14 March 2013
 Eight sanctioned for anti-doping violations

The International Rugby Board has announced the findings for eight anti-doping rule violations that occurred during 2012.

Underscoring its continued commitment to the fight against drugs cheats in sport and keeping Rugby clean, suspensions have been handed down to players from Peru (2), Argentina, Canada, Cook Islands and Russia (2) as well as a team physiotherapist from Russia.


1. Peru players Miguel Ángel and Paolo Urquieta Ruiz each received 12-month sanctions for taking a dietary supplement containing the stimulant Methylhexaneamine (MHA) ahead of the CONSUR Sevens in March 2012.  These cases highlight the dangers and risks associated with taking dietary supplements and not undertaking the required checks to make sure that products contain no prohibited substances.  Click here for the IRB’s position on dietary supplements or fact sheet on Methylhexaneamine.

2. Argentina Under 20 player Rodrigo Parada Heit was sanctioned for two years for his use of the anabolic steroid Nandrolone which was used to help him recover from a badly broken ankle prior to his participation in the IRB Junior World Championship 2012 in South Africa. For information on anabolic steroids see the fact sheet here.

3. Canada Under 20 player Fukunoshima Vikilani received a two-year sanction after the sample he provided prior to the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2012 in USA was found to contain the diuretics Furosemide and Hydrochlorothiazide.

4. Cook Islands Sevens player Sean Fletcher received a five-month sanction following his use of Cannabis a few weeks prior to his participation in the RWC Sevens 2013 Oceania Qualifier. This is a stark warning to players to avoid use of Cannabis even in a social environment as it is well known that residue of Cannabis can stay in the system for a number of weeks.

5. Rushan Yagudin and Vitaly Zhivatov from Russia both received two-year sanctions for taking the stimulant Carphedon prior to the HSBC Sevens World Series event in Hong Kong in March 2012. Russia team physiotherapist Andrey Kosarev was handed a lifetime ban for providing the prohibited substance to the players in a incident that was his second offence. The case highlights that it is not just players who are subject to anti-doping rules, but also player support personnel including coaches, managers and medical staff.

Full case information is available at www.irbkeeprugbyclean.com.

IRB Anti-Doping Manager Tim Ricketts said: "The principle of strict liability applies in all cases and players should understand that they are solely responsible for any prohibited substance found in their body regardless of whether it was contained in a medication, dietary or nutritional supplement, prepared or recommended by team management, medical personnel or other trusted persons.  It is not necessary for intent or fault on a players part be shown in order for an anti-doping rule violation to be established."

“Education is at the very core of ensuring that Rugby is drug free and players are advised to check all medications and dietary supplements to ensure they do not contain a prohibited substance.  It is essential that players advise their doctor or pharmacist that they may be subject to drug testing before any prescription is issued or medication prescribed. If in doubt check The Global Drug Reference Online at www.globaldro.com or contact your National Anti-Doping Organisation.”

Extensive testing and education regime

The IRB undertook 1,542 In and Out of Competition controls across IRB tournaments and events in 2012, including the HSBC Sevens World Series, Rugby World Cup 2015 qualifiers, men's and women's Tests and Age Grade Rugby.

The programme saw 21 Anti-Doping cases, equating to 1.36 per cent of the IRB's entire programme. While 2012 Rugby figures published by WADA are still pending, 2011 saw more than 6,000 tests undertaken in Rugby worldwide by National Anti-Doping agencies, Unions and the IRB combined with 53 violations.

The IRB also remains committed to blood testing across its portfolio of events and Out of Competition and has conducted 482 tests since debuting at Rugby World Cup 2007 in France.

The IRB also focused on increased educational programmes in 2012, including the delivery of Keep Rugby Clean awareness campaigns at IRB Age Grade and Sevens events to more than 1,000 players during the year.