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Page last updated at 10:16 GMT, Friday, 28 January 2011

South African drugs tribunal clears Ralepelle & Basson

Bjorn Basosn and Chiliboy Ralepelle
Basson (left) and Ralepelle could have been banned for up to two years

Chiliboy Ralepelle and Bjorn Basson have been cleared to play again for South Africa following their positive drug tests in November.

The duo tested positive for banned substance methylhexaneamine following a win over Ireland and were sent home.

A South Africa Rugby Union judicial committee ruled there was "no fault" by the players because the substance was in a supplement given to them.

"It proves that we are not cheats," said SARU chief executive Jurie Roux.

The outcome cleared winger Basson and hooker Ralepelle to play for Pretoria-based Northern Bulls in the Super 15 from mid-February.

Speaking on behalf of the pair, Ralepelle said: "Finally the facts are out there and people can see that we were not guilty and are not doping cheats.

"We were only doing what the large majority of professional rugby players around the world do by using a supplement.

As a result of these positive tests we will not endorse, condone or supply supplements to any of our players

Clint Readhead, SARU medical manager

"Bjorn and I were the unlucky ones to be tested on the day and to have had to go through the trauma of the past two and a half months.

"We're both now just looking forward to playing again and closing this chapter once and for all."

Ralepelle and Basson were provisionally suspended and sent home from the Springboks' European tour after testing positive following the 23-21 win over Ireland on 6 November.

They could have been banned for two years under the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) code.

Methylhexaneamine, which can boost the heart rate of an athlete, is found in foodstuffs, medicines and dietary supplements.

Roux said the stimulant was in a widely-used substance which had been tested in a laboratory to ensure it complied with WADA regulations before being given to the players in the warm-up to the game in Dublin.

On 1 January, it was reclassified as a "specified stimulant", which means it will join the list of drugs that are more susceptible to being taken by mistake.

But as a result of the case, SARU has changed its approach to supplements.

"We have always been wary of supplements but have tried to manage the risk as the players do want to use them," said Clint Readhead, SARU medical manager.

"We did everything in our power to ensure that the supplements we supplied to the players were safe and we thought we'd put in place enough safeguards to minimise that risk.

"We received a certificate from the lab saying that the product met WADA specifications.

"As a result of these positive tests however we will not endorse, condone or supply supplements to any of our players as one positive test from a rogue batch is too heavy a price to pay."

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see also
South Africa pair fail drug tests
15 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
Wales 25-29 South Africa
13 Nov 10 |  Welsh
Ireland 21-23 South Africa
06 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
Unnamed Australians test positive
23 Oct 10 |  Sport Homepage
Second Nigerian fails drugs test
12 Oct 10 |  Commonwealth Games

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