Sale Sharks prop Eifion Lewis-Roberts could be facing a two-year suspension after testing positive for drugs while playing for former club Toulon in June.
According to French newspaper L’Equipe, Lewis-Roberts tested positive for morphine and pseudoephedrine in his urine B sample following Toulon’s Top 14 final clash with Toulouse.
Despite the test coming seven months after the match, Lewis-Roberts could receive a two-year suspension unless he proves the drugs were not performance-enhancing.
Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal responded defiantly to the French media’s claims of doping by defending the Welsh prop they signed from Sale two years ago.
“I don’t believe he’s a guy who dopes. He could have taken something to ease pain,” Boudjellal told GlobalPost.
Toulon coach Bernard Laporte also appeared sceptical of the allegations made against a player he greatly admired.
“This would surprise me but if it’s true, I’d be very disappointed by the man,” Laporte told GlobalPost.
“I worked with him for seven months and I have a lot of admiration for him as a player.
“He made a lot of effort to lose weight, to be fit and bring something to the team.”
Lewis-Roberts joined the Sharks initially in 2005 and was a popular figure in his six years at the club before making his move to big-spending Toulon.
But the man nicknamed ‘the fridge’ by his team-mates made an emotional return to Sale in February last year, as a direct replacement for Andrew Sheridan.