IRB review of Tune doping case to be delayed

Durban - The International Rugby Board (IRB) review into the Ben Tune doping saga will only take place next week at the earliest, a spokesman said on Friday.

Tune was found guilty of a doping offence by an Australian Rugby Union (ARU) tribunal on Monday but was spared any form of punishment when the tribunal accepted that there were "exceptional circumstances".

The IRB had announced on Wednesday that they would review the case within five days of the receipt of the documentation from the ARU.

"The material is all now in but, because of the weight of it and the content of it, the IRB may not be able to move on it in the time frame that was first thought possible," said IRB spokesman Chris Rea.

"The issue now is to get the process absolutely right and that's more important than speed.

"The earliest the review can now take place is next week."

The 25-year-old Tune escaped a two-year suspension when the ARU committee on Monday accepted the Wallaby winger's explanation that he had been administered probenecid - a banned masking agent - for its routine medicinal properties.

Tune flew to South Africa following the hearing and will play on the right wing in Saturday's Tri-Nations decider against the Springboks in Johannesburg.

If Australia win by a margin of 26 points, and also score at least four tries, they will win the title outright for a third successive year.

It was announced earlier in the week by the IRB that the South African expert on the board's anti-doping advisory committee would not be part of the review after the doping specialist criticised the findings of the ARU's tribunal.

The expert, Dr Ismail Jakoet, said Tune should have been banned by the tribunal according to the "strict liability" provisions of the IRB's regulations once the player admitted the doping offence.

ARU managing director John O'Neill dismissed Jakoet's claims, saying that a suspension would not have been "sustainable in the Australian legal environment".

A meeting of SANZAR (South Africa, New Zealand and Australia Rugby) in Johannesburg on Friday agreed to review their anti-doping regulations in the wake of the Tune case.

  • Former South African under-21 lock forward Johannes Britz has been handed a two-year playing ban after testing positive for testosterone, it was confirmed on Friday.

    Britz, who played for the national under-21 side in 2000 and 2001, failed an out-of-competition test during the close season and received his suspension at a hearing on Thursday.

    He is the eighth South African player to receive the IRB's mandatory sentence for doping offences since 1997.

    A second former South African under-21 player, Carlo del Fava, also failed a close season test and was banned earlier this year.

    Only one of the offenders - Springbok prop Cobus Visagie - escaped serving the sentence when he successfully appealed against his suspension in April.


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