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Sharks hooker given four year doping ban

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Sharks Super Rugby hooker Monde Hadebe has been given a four year ban for a steroid-related doping offence.

Hadebe did not play for the Sharks in the 2016 Super Rugby season as he went to the Southern Kings on a trial basis but returned to Durban with an injury.

The 25-year-old is the second Sharks hooker to be under a doping cloud as the Durban franchise also have former Springbok hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle on their books.

Ralepelle was given a two year doping ban which ran until April 10, 2016 and at the time was with Toulon. In 2010 he was sent home with Bjorn Basson after they tested positive for a banned substance.

The Chief executive officer for the SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport Khalid Galant confirmed to Sport24 that Hadebe tested positive for two forbidden forms of steroids.

Hadebe is not alone in being found guilty of doping as several players from slightly lower levels of competition domestically have fallen foul of doping charges.

The known offenders include Border Under-21 lock Chase Benito (four years), Griquas Under-21 loose forward Nico Graaff (two years) and Border’s Currie Cup-level loose forward Lukhanyo Nomzanga.

Former EP Kings flank Siyanda Mangaliso, first banned for doping in 2013, has been collared again, whilst it has also been established that a Boland Under-19 player has been handed a three-year ban although an appeal hearing is imminent in his case.

Hadebe’s ban brings the credibility of South African rugby into sharp focus as it also not the first time that the country has had such problems.

Hadebe made three appearances for the Sharks in Super Rugby 2015 – against the Force, Lions and Bulls.

Meanwhile Ralepelle is on tour with the Sharks as they face the Hurricanes in Wellington in a Super Rugby Quarter final on Saturday.

According to Galant a second high profile South African player has tested positive but his identity is being protected.

The Sharks and outgoing Sharks CEO John Smit have since released a statement saying, “We are saddened to hear the news about Monde Hadebe.  Monde is a man of integrity and a leader in his own right, who, over the years, has been a great ambassador for The Sharks.”

“Due to a reoccurring injury that hampered his rugby progress he took the decision to retire from rugby at the beginning of the year, prior to SAIDS findings, and has successfully started a corporate career.”

“Monde had acknowledged his mistake in not being more careful and is most remorseful, and had co-operated with SAIDS from the outset, whilst they carried out their investigation”, added Smit.

“The Sharks support and acknowledge the great work that the Anti-Doping Council carries out, and we will continue to educate and provide guidance to our players on the importance of making informed decisions and to know exactly what they take into their bodies and whether or not that is permissible.”

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