De Villiers vows to find source of positive drug tests
South Africa coach Peter de Villiers has said his players were "gutted" to hear that their team-mates Bjorn Basson and Chiliboy Ralepelle had tested positive for a banned stimulant and has promised to leave no stone unturned in his search for the source of the drug.
Basson and Ralepelle were chosen for random testing after the Springboks' victory over Ireland in Dublin on November 6. The urine samples provided by both were found to contain traces of methylhexaneamine, a substance which has been notoriously difficult to track, but which is known to have been found in food supplements, cooking oils and nasal decongestants and so-called party drugs.
The South Africans were informed of the failed test late on Sunday evening and arrangements were immediately put in place for Basson and Ralepelle to fly home. As a matter of course, both have been suspended from all rugby.
"The team were gutted," De Villiers said at the squad's Edinburgh training base yesterday. "It came as a huge surprise to us because we've been tested throughout the year and we've been clean every time. There is a process going on now and we'll take things from there."
Basson and Ralepelle were the only South African players tested after the Ireland game, so the nightmare scenario for the tourists is that the drug's source could be a food supplement or drink that has been administered to the entire squad. De Villiers acknowledged that possibility, but pledged to get to the bottom of the matter as quickly as possible.
"We are working around the clock now," he said. "We are testing everything in our camp so that we do not make the same mistake." (© Daily Telegraph, London)