Aviva Premiership
Five Premiership players fail recreational drugs test
ESPN Staff
October 22, 2013

The Rugby Football Union has announced five players at Aviva Premiership clubs have tested positive for recreational drugs in the 2012-13 season.

The players will stay anonymous as they are first offences, resulting in a 'first strike' fine of £5,000 and access to assessment, rehabilitation and counselling. The RFU's third anti-doping annual report reveals that 345 tests took place as part of the illicit drugs programme which is focused on Premiership clubs and conducts out of competition tests for common illicit drugs.

It is the first time since the illicit drugs programme was introduced for the 2009-10 season that there have been violations of the policy.

Four major illicit drug groups are tested - cocaine, cannabis, ecstasy and amphetamines - and 83 per cent of samples are hair samples, which have a three to seven month detection period.

"A small number of adverse findings via the illicit drugs programme is a reminder that we can never assume the anti-doping job has been 'done'," Rugby Players' Association rugby director David Barnes said.

There were a total of 617 in and out of competition tests for performance-enhancing drugs. All five of the positive tests for the 2012-13 season were recorded at National League level and below. A Premiership player has yet to return a positive test for performance-enhancing drugs.

Barnes added: "It is reassuring to see another season concluded with no systemic doping amongst the senior elite players in England. They continue to be role models for the wider game."

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