Friday 25 May 2018

Wasps hooker Ashley Johnson provisionally suspended following failed drugs test

Wasps' Ashley Johnson and Ulster's Tommy Bowe face off. Photo: PA
Wasps' Ashley Johnson and Ulster's Tommy Bowe face off. Photo: PA

Charlie Morgan

Wasps have revealed that forward Ashley Johnson failed an out-of-competition drugs test in February and has been temporarily suspended while the sample is investigated by the RFU.

The 31 year-old, who has three Test caps for South Africa, has not featured for Dai Young’s team since a 24-16 Premiership win over London Irish on March 4.

A statement from Wasps read: “The club is aware that a prohibited substance was reportedly found in an out-of-competition doping control sample provided by Ashley Johnson on February 7, 2018.

“He has been provisionally suspended by the RFU pending final determination of the matter and is therefore currently unavailable for selection. 

“Ashley is currently investigating the possible source of the substance and both he and the club are co-operating fully with the RFU in this respect.

“We are fully supportive of him in this process but are unable to comment any further at this stage due to the confidentiality of legal proceedings.”

The news comes in the same week that Brandon Staples of Championship side Yorkshire Carnegie was suspended for a period of four years after testing positive for steroids.

Stephen Watkins, the RFU’s anti-doping and illicit drugs programme manager, said regarding Staples: “This is the first failed test for a performance enhancing substance in English professional rugby since 2011 and a reminder to all that we cannot be complacent in our efforts to keep rugby a clean sport.”

Johnson has accumulated 185 first-team appearances since joining Wasps from the Free State Cheetahs ahead of the 2012-3 season. He signed a new contract last November.

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