Bok suspended for failed dope test
Premiership club Wasps have been rocked by the news that their Springbok utility forward Ashley Johnson has failed a drugs test.
A statement from the club read: "The club is aware that a prohibited substance was reportedly found in an out-of-competition doping control sample provided by Ashley Johnson on 7 February 2018."
"He has been provisionally suspended by the RFU pending final determination of the matter and is therefore currently unavailable for selection.
"Ashley is currently investigating the possible source of the substance and both he and the club are co-operating fully with the RFU in this respect.
"We are fully supportive of him in this process but are unable to comment any further at this stage due to the confidentiality of legal proceedings."
Johnson joined the Premiership club in 2012, from Super Rugby side the Cheetahs, whom he'd played for since 2006.
He has played 22 times this season for Dai Young's side, scoring five tries – his last appearance for the club was in a 24-16 win over London Irish on March 4th
The 112kg utility – who started out as a loose forward, but was converted to hooker – has earned three caps for the Springboks.
Johnson switched successfully to the front row in the 2015/16 season for Wasps, giving the club an option at hooker, and appeared in every match that season for the club.
He made 31 appearances last season crossing for an impressive nine tries.
On Wednesday a 20-year-old South African became the first professional player to fail a drugs test in English professional rugby in seven years.
* Earlier this week it was revealed that Brandon Staples of Yorkshire Carnegie has been suspended for a period of four years from all sport, following the decision of a national anti-doping panel.
Staples tested positive for the presence of three steroids including Dehydrochloromethyl-Testosterone, Metandienone and Stanozolol.
The 20-year-old South African was tested after a training session on 9 August 2017 at his club and his urine sample returned an Adverse Analytical Finding.
Staples claimed the AAF was a result of consuming a nutritional drink in South Africa while on holiday in May 2017.
Staples maintained that he wasn't training at the time and that he consumed the protein shake in the belief that it was free from banned substances.
The period of ineligibility has been applied from 7 September 2017 – the date of the provisional suspension – until 6 September 2021.
Stephen Watkins, RFU Anti-Doping and Illicit Drugs Programme Manager added: "This is the first failed test for a performance-enhancing substance in English professional rugby since 2011 and a reminder to all that we cannot be complacent in our efforts to keep rugby a clean sport.
"Education and deterrence remain core pillars of our anti-doping strategy and we must ensure we continue to educate players about the risks involved in supplementation. Ultimately individuals are responsible for what they put into their bodies and this case highlights what can happen if a player is not vigilant."
The case also went to an appeal panel which upheld the original decision.
The loose forward had his contract terminated following the original Anti-Doping Tribunal on 30th November 2017.
During the investigation process, Staples was offered support from the club.
Commenting on the outcome on the Yorkshire Carnegie website, Gary Hetherington, the club's Chief Executive said: "We are naturally very disappointed with the actions of Brandon Staples, who has let himself and everyone at the club down and the four-year suspension sends a stark warning to all professional sportspeople."
Staples made his debut for Yorkshire Carnegie in the 2016-17 season as a replacement against Bedford Blues in the British & Irish Cup before making his first start at the Dragons Premiership Select, impressing with a try down in Wales. He has not featured for Yorkshire Carnegie this season.
Born in Durban, South Africa, Brandon attended the prestigious Glenwood Boys School, which has produced over 150 international sportsmen, including seven rugby Springboks in the last century.
The big No.8 represented KwaZulu-Natal at under-13 and under-16 level before coming to England in 2014 as an exchange student. He attended Northumbria University and played at Darlington Mowden Park last season on dual registration.