Welsh officials issue drugs warning after positive tests

The Welsh Rugby Union issued a drugs warning to all players after two amateurs under its jurisdiction were suspended after recording positive tests.

Drug-taking in amateur and junior rugby, with players believing they must ‘bulk up’ if they are to be considered for lucrative professional careers, has becoming a growing problem in both codes.

Monday’s announcement by the WRU means that 30 out of the current suspensions issued by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) are for either rugby union or league players.

The latest sanctions involve two amateur Welsh players, including a four-year ban for Owen Morgan, who played for Merthyr, after he tested positive for the anabolic steroid drostanolone and for benzoylcgonine, a metabolite of cocaine.

Greg Roberts, who played for Glynneath, was banned for two years after testing positive for a metabolite of tamoxifen — a drug which can boost levels of testosterone and inhibit the growth of male breasts, which can be a side-effect of steroid or hormone use.

WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips said: “These bans serve as a strong warning to everyone in the game that non-compliance with anti-doping rules carries grave consequences.

“There is no place for doping within sport, and it certainly doesn’t fit in with the values of rugby union. Whether intentional, or inadvertent, players have a responsibility to themselves, to each other, to their clubs and to the sport to act within the rules and spirit of the game.”

Nicole Sapstead, the chief executive of UKAD, added: “By making the wrong choices, Owen Morgan and Greg Roberts have cheated themselves, their team-mates and their sport. Not only have they damaged their sporting careers, but they have put their health at risk.”

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