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Wednesday, 24 July, 2002, 11:06 GMT 12:06 UK
ARU gives Tune full backing
Ben Tune in action for the Wallabies against New Zealand
Ben Tune will wear the number 14 shirt in Brisbane

The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) is hoping the International Rugby Board (IRB) will take no action against Ben Tune following the admission that the wing took a banned substance.

Tune was prescribed the banned drug probenecid in March 2001 during treatment for an infected knee.

The drug can be used as a masking agent but the ARU maintains that Tune was only given probenecid for medical reasons.

The wing was withdrawn from four Super 12 matches when the ARU realised he had taken the drug, but they failed to inform the IRB.


We trust that the IRB will choose to take the matter no further
ARU chief exec
John O'Neill

The Australian authorities plan to compile a chronological report on the affair for the IRB, and ARU chief executive John O'Neill hopes that will be the end of the matter.

"Did the player test positive to a banned substance? The answer is absolutely 'no'," said O'Neill.

"Did Ben Tune play a game of rugby knowing he was taking a banned substance? The answer is also 'no'.

"We will be preparing that report for the IRB and we trust, having well and truly, openly and quite unambiguously admitted our error, that the IRB hopefully will choose to take the matter no further."

Tune selected

Meanwhile, Tune has been named in the Australia side to take on South Africa in the Tri-Nations on Saturday.

The Wallabies will welcome back winger Stirling Mortlock for the match in Brisbane.

He will replace Wendell Sailor after recovering from a shoulder injury, while fly-half Stephen Larkham and forward Matt Cockbain, named on the bench, will celebrate their 50th Test caps.

Australia lost 12-6 to the All Blacks in Christchurch in the Tri-Nations opener on 13 July.


Australia team:
15-Chris Latham; 14-Ben Tune, 13-Matthew Burke, 12-Daniel Herbert, 11-Stirling Mortlock; 10-Stephen Larkham, 9-George Gregan (captain); 8-Toutai Kefu, 7-George Smith, 6-Owen Finegan, 5-Justin Harrison, 4-Nathan Sharpe; 3-Patricio Noriega, 2-Jeremy Paul, 1-Bill Young.

Substitutes: 16-Brendan Cannon, 17-Ben Darwin, 18-Matt Cockbain, 19-David Lyons, 20-Chris Whitaker, 21-Mat Rogers, 22-David Croft.


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