Springboks Ralepelle and Basson fail doping tests

The South African rugby duo are sent home from their Autumn tour after failing doping tests after the Test match against Ireland.


LONDON // South Africa rugby players Bjorn Basson and Chiliboy Ralepelle were sent home today for failing doping tests after their Test match against Ireland.

The South African Rugby Union said the players tested positive for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine after the 23-21 win against Ireland in Dublin on November 6. The players can still have their "B" sample tested.

Basson, 23, was selected for his second Springboks tour after scoring a record 21 tries in this year's Currie Cup playing for Griquas. The winger was due to return home anyway after injuring his ankle in Saturday's 29-25 win over Wales in Cardiff.

Ralepelle, a hooker, came on as a substitute against the Welsh during the game.

Beginning next year, the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) will loosen the classification of methylhexaneamine to the "specified stimulant" list, which covers drugs that are more susceptible to inadvertent use and can carry reduced penalties.

Sanctions for use of the drug can be reduced if athletes can prove they did not intend to enhance performance. Penalties can range from a warning to a two-year ban.

Wada said methylhexaneamine was sold as a medicine until the early 1970s and has now reappeared in some nutritional supplements and cooking oils.