WRU calls for end to doping in rugby after second ban

The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) has called for an end to doping in rugby union after a second player was banned for violations within the space of two days.

Ryan Watkins, who played for Maesteg Harlequins, was given a four-year suspension from all sport by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) after testing positive for nandrolone and the stimulant methylhexaneamine.

Watkins joins team-mate Shaun Cleary, who, on Wednesday, was banned for two years after being found to have a "cocaine metabolite" in his system.

The two players tested positive in a friendly against Bridgend Ravens in August.

WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips said in a statement: "There is no place for doping within sport, and it certainly doesn't fit in with the values of rugby union. Players have a responsibility to themselves, to each other, to their clubs and to the sport to act within the rules and spirit of the game.

"We want to rid our game of these practices and we encourage anyone who has any intelligence of doping taking place to call the WRU or UKAD and help protect our game."

UKAD director of legal, Graham Arthur added: "Ryan Watkins deliberately ingested nandrolone and methylhexaneamine without any consideration for his responsibilities as an athlete.

"By making this conscious choice to dope, Watkins has chosen to cheat his team-mates, the opposition and his sport.

"This serious breach of the rules and blatant attempt to cheat the system has rightly resulted in a four-year ban.

"I hope this case will act as strong deterrent to other young amateur players - the risks to your playing career, your reputation and more importantly to your health, just aren't worth it."

On Thursday, World Rugby announced the appointment of Mike Earl as anti-doping general manager in a move to "strengthen its commitment to the fight against doping in sport".