Sunday 18 February 2018

'Vindication' for Racing 92 after anti-doping authorities clear Carter

Dan Carter. Photo: Getty Images
Dan Carter. Photo: Getty Images

Duncan Bech

Former New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter has been cleared of anti-doping breaches by the French Rugby Federation (FFR).

Carter - along with Racing 92 team-mates Joe Rokocoko of New Zealand and Argentina's Juan Imhoff - has been absolved of any wrongdoing after a report had claimed traces of steroids showed up in drugs tests taken by the trio after last season's Top 14 final.

French sports newspaper L'Equipe had reported "traces of corticosteroids" - which are used to help reduce inflammation - were found in the urine samples given by the Racing players to the French anti-doping agency.

Carter, Rokocoko and Imhoff maintained their innocence throughout and were defended by their club, whose position has been vindicated by the FFR's verdict.

A statement released by Racing read: "The medical commission of the FFR has duly dispelled any doubts over-shadowing the medical practices of the club.

"As we have always stated, neither the players nor their doctor committed the slightest violation of the rules or the slightest ethical breach."

When the report first appeared, the management company representing Carter and Rokocoko said it had been "aware of the issue for a few weeks''. The company's Simon Porter told the New Zealand Herald: "Our understanding and the assurances we've had are that all the documents around TUEs were in place.''

Carter was receiving medication for a calf injury, Porter said, while Rokocoko was recovering from a knee problem. Racing's initial statement appeared to indicate TUEs were not in place, with the club confident they were not required.

World Cup winner Carter used his Instagram account to express his relief at the judgement.

"I just received the ruling from the FFR. No surprises that the FFR's ruling was that I'd done nothing wrong," he said.

"I hold my integrity and the game of rugby's integrity in the highest regard. I love this game and owe so much to rugby that I would never do anything intentionally to bring it into disrepute.

"I am glad that we can now put all this behind us so I can now concentrate on playing rugby!"

Meanwhile, injured No 8 Taulupe Faletau (knee) was a surprise inclusion in the Wales squad for the autumn internationals, with coach Rob Howley also calling up uncapped Ospreys' duo Sam Davies and Rory Thornton. Leigh Halfpenny and Alex Cuthbert make their return for their country after their respective injury struggles.

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