Press releases 2nd August 2016

Welsh Rugby League Player Receives Second Ban for Use of Steroids

A 21 year-old Welsh rugby league player, Rhys Pugsley, has been suspended from all sport for eight years after committing a second Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV). Pugsley, from Newport in Wales, tested positive for the presence of the anabolic steroid nandrolone following an out-of-competition test on 8 February 2016.

At the time of the test, the former Wigan Warriors Academy and Welsh international was already serving a two-year ban for steroid use which was committed in April 2014. As a result of the player committing a second ADRV, a ban of eight years was imposed under Article 10.7.1(c) of The World Anti-Doping Code.

UKAD’s Chief Executive, Nicole Sapstead, said: “Having made his Wales debut at the age of 18, Rhys Pugsley had a bright future ahead of him in rugby league. But Rhys has single-handedly destroyed that promising career as a result of this second violation. All athletes serving a sanction remain subject to testing throughout the course of their suspension, to mitigate the risk of them returning to sport and continuing to dope. Rhys’ conscious choice to continue to take performance enhancing substances, whilst he was already serving a ban, has rightly been met with a further tough sanction. We take this type of violation with the utmost seriousness and our message is clear – there is no place in sport for those who consciously dope.

“UKAD continues to be concerned about the number of young men who are turning to steroid use for performance or cosmetic enhancement. This trend continues to be a serious issue and we are calling on our partners in the sport, health and education sectors to support us in trying to tackle the issue. UKAD works closely with the Rugby Football League to ensure that anti-doping education, resources and support, are available to players, so that they can make the right choices throughout their careers to compete and win clean.”

Pugsley is banned from all sport from 3 March 2016 until midnight on 2 March 2024. The full written decision can be found under current rule violations.

• This media release was originally published by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) on 1 August 2016. To access the original, please click here.

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