By Elliot Mathye
Springboks rugby players Chiliboy Ralepelle and Bjorn Basson can now breathe a sigh of relief after a Judicial Committee found that they were not responsible for the positive tests for a banned stimulant. The announcement was made public today by the South African Rugby Union (Saru) after the case had been delayed on for further analysis on January 26.
The two players in question were victims after they were picked for testing during the Springboks’ Test against Ireland in Dublin last year, November 6. They tested positive for the banned substance methylhexaneamine after the first Test of the team’s Grand Slam and were both immediately sent home. Their “B” samples later also tested positive.
Both players reportedly denied knowingly taking the substance. Officials then believed that a nutritional supplement taken by all the players during the five-week tour may have caused the positive tests and its treatment is likely to be reviewed during the investigation. The examination, which will be conducted by a three-man committee selected by Saru intended to set the record straight.
Bjorn Basson had reacted to media reports in which he allegedly criticises Saru on the way he was treated since his positive doping test following the test against Wales.
They were suspended under International Rugby Board rules and were banned from all rugby activities until the matter was resolved. Neither contested the testing procedure, which allowed the investigation and hearing to take place in South Africa. Methylhexaneamine, which can be used as a nasal decongestant and is found in nutritional supplements, was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of banned substances last year.