No ban for Sale Sharks’ Welsh prop Eifion Lewis-Roberts despite testing positive for drugs

By Mancunian Matters staff

Sale Sharks prop Eifion Lewis-Roberts will not face a ban after he tested positive for morphine and pseudoephedrine while still playing in France.

The 32-year-old one-time Welsh international re-joined Sale in the summer from Toulon, but was being investigated by the French rugby authorities for the positive result, and was facing a two-year ban.

However, the club announced Lewis-Roberts was cleared of any offences, with a hearing stating its belief the drugs were taken for pain relief and were not performance-enhancing.

The story was originally broken by a French newspaper, and Sharks were told of the test in February 2013, but backed their man.

David Barnes, Rugby Players Association director, admitted his delight at Lewis-Roberts being cleared.

“This was the correct decision and we are relieved that an innocent player has not had his reputation unnecessarily damaged,” he said.

“For Eifion to have had this hanging over him since the test took place in June 2012 is unacceptable in professional sport.

“In this case, as the panel have agreed, there was no intention on the player’s part to enhance his sporting performance and he has fully co-operated with the investigation to prove his innocence.”

“As part of the joint RPA, RFU and Premiership Rugby Anti-Doping Board the RPA is fully committed in the fight against cheating in sport.”

Toulon president, Mourad Boudjellal, admitted at the time he did not expect Lewis-Roberts to be banned.

He said: “The player is not a drugs cheat. He took a product to relieve pain he was in and that is all there is to it.”

Lewis-Roberts has played his part in ensuring Sale Sharks kept their place in the Aviva Premiership despite a terrible start.

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