English Rugby
Teenager hit with 21-month suspension
ESPNscrum Staff
April 16, 2012
A general view of the RFU offices, November 7, 2009
The RFU has banned Spelman for 21 months © Getty Images
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Former England Under-16s international Jonathan Spelman has been hit with a 21-month ban after admitting to taking numerous prohibited substances.

The 17-year-old, whose mother is Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman, was reportedly injured playing for Tonbridge School last year and turned to a mix of testosterone, drostanolone, growth hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin, clomid and nolvadex in a bid to aid his recovery.

However, he was caught by his school and subsequently appeared before an independent tribunal last month. His parents initially tried to prevent details of the case being published by a Sunday newspaper but a privacy injunction was later lifted.

Spelman, who admitted taking the substances in October, November and December, will not be available to play again until October 2013 although he has appealed the decision.

Drug Incidents

  • 2006: Wallaby Wendell Sailor hit with two year ban for taking cocaine.
  • 2009: Matt Stevens banned from the game for two years after testing positive for cocaine.
  • 2010: Bjorn Basson and Chiliboy Ralapelle sent home from tour after testing positive for a banned substance. Both are cleared in January 2011.
  • 2011: USA player James Paterson hit with four month suspension after positive test during the 2011 RWC.

In his judgment, Christopher Quinlan QC said: "In fixing the appropriate period of suspension the tribunal had regard to all the relevant matters advanced during the course of the hearing, including the player's youth, immaturity and admissions.

"It therefore reduced by three months the otherwise applicable period of ineligibility of two years and imposed a period of ineligibility (suspension) of 21 months."

In a statement first published last month, Spelman's parents said: "Our son knows that taking a banned substance can never, ever be right and he is deeply sorry for the mistakes he has made and is determined to learn from them. We will do everything we can to support him as he faces the consequences of his actions. He is still very young and we hope he can be given space to do that."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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