DURBAN – Sharks hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle has 21 days in which to decide whether to fight the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sports (Saids) finding that he has tested positive for a banned substance or plead guilty in mitigation of sanction
On Wednesday, Saids revealed that Ralepelle had for a second time tested positive for banned substance Zeranol.
In January, Saids officials pitched up at a Sharks training session and tested the players. A few weeks later, it was divulged that the 32-year-old Ralepelle had tested positive.
Ralepelle last week asked for his B sample (taken from the same urine test as the A sample) to be tested, and Saids once more found evidence of Zeranol, a growth promotant used in livestock.
Until Ralepelle’s B sample proved positive, the Sharks had refused to get involved or comment on the matter, but they have now broken their silence.
A Sharks spokesperson told Independent Media on Wednesday: “We acknowledge the outcome of Chiliboy Ralepelle’s B-sample test, and we are saddened by the finding.
“We strongly condemn doping in any form, and we respect the work done by Saids.
“The Sharks are highly proactive in continually educating and providing guidance to our players on anti-doping regulations, and about the responsible use of supplements, and will continue to do so.”
This is in wake of a statement on Wednesday from Saids that said: “The B-sample result of Sharks rugby player, Mahlatse Chiliboy Ralepelle, confirmed the presence of the banned substance Zeranol.
“During the sample collection process, the athlete divides his sample into an A-sample container (60ml) and a B-sample container (30ml) and seals both containers.
“The B-sample container, therefore, contains the same urine as the A-sample container.
“Upon receipt of the athlete’s A and B-samples at the laboratory, only the A-sample’s seal is broken, and the sample is then analysed for banned substances.
“When the presence of a banned substance is identified in the A-sample, the athlete is notified and has the option to accept the result, or have the B-sample analysed to confirm or invalidate the A-sample result.
“Mr Ralepelle exercised his right to have his B-sample analysed.”
Saids said the ball is now in Ralepelle’s court. “The athlete now has the option of accepting the result and offering a guilty plea, where after a decision will be issued explaining the doping sanction.
“The athlete may also submit a plea for consideration of a reduced sanction by providing mitigating circumstances.
“Should the athlete opt to contest the sample result, a hearing of an independent tribunal panel will be convened to adjudicate over the proceeding and hand down a decision. The athlete has 21 days until a decision must be disclosed.”
Ralepelle has a previous doping conviction, having tested positive for a banned substance when he was playing for French club Toulouse, resulting in a two-year ban from rugby.@MikeGreenaway67