Pretoria - Former Springbok and Bulls hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle could be facing a 2-year ban from rugby after allegedly failing a doping test.
The 27-year-old Ralepelle, who plays for French Top 14 club Toulouse, is reported to have tested positive for a banned anabolic steroid, Drostanolone, after traces of the substance were found in his urine last week in a test conducted by the French Agency Against Doping on behalf of the International Rugby Board (IRB).
Drostanolone, also known as dromostanolone or Drolban, is an anabolic steroid. Its main medical uses include lowering cholesterol levels and as an antineoplastic agent in the treatment of some cancers.
It has gained popularity in the bodybuilding community as a diuretic and muscle-defining drug.
Although the test forms part of the IRB’s policy of random testing, there remains doubt on whether Ralepelle will face the full might of the law, with there being some mitigating reasons as to how Ralepelle’s urine ended up with traces of the banned steroid.
Ralepelle has been undergoing rehabilitation after rupturing his cruciate ligaments in his right knee in a match against Biarritz, and underwent an operation on February 20, with the anti-doping tests having taken place a month later on March 19.
While Ralepelle’s A-sample has tested positive for traces of drostanolone, confirmation of punitive measures being taken against him will happen only after the results of his B-sample have been established.
There could be a further twist in the matter, with unconfirmed reports in the French media that there has been some irregularities with the B-sample after the batch of urine samples which contained Ralepelle’s urine exploded in the lab while undergoing tests.
Furthermore, Ralepelle was apparently tested three weeks prior to his operation, and the tests were negative, leaving the door open to speculation that if Ralepelle did take the banned substance, it would have been after his operation.
The SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport (Saids) confirmed that drostanolone was on the World Anti-Doping Association’s (Wada) prohibited substance list.
“We can confirm the substance in question is a banned anabolic steroid which is listed in the Wada 2014 Prohibited List,” Saids chief executive Khalid Galant said on Monday.
According to a source close to Ralepelle, there was no reason why he would take a banned substance. “He was injured at the time of the testing and is only coming back to rugby later this year.”
Ralepelle is expected to be back in September, but in light of the doping claims, he could find himself on the sidelines for longer than expected.
Toulouse president Rene Bouscatel has reportedly said the club would presume Ralepelle innocent of “intentionally consuming the substance” unless it was proved otherwise, and it could be the substance formed part of medication that Ralepelle was given to recover from his knee surgery.
Ralepelle, who is in France, did not answer his phone when the Pretoria News called him.
This is not the first time he has been embroiled in a doping scandal.