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Premiership Rugby Player banned following second illicit drugs violation

6 Month ban.

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Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images

Jake Pope, registered as a player for Sale Sharks, has received a six-month ban following his second violation of the RFU Illicit Drugs Programme.

He is banned from 4 December 2018, the date of his provisional suspension, until 4 June 2019. This is the first time a player has breached RFU’s illicit drugs policy for a second time.

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Pope had previously admitted a first violation, resulting from a test taken on 12 September 2017, which had revealed the presence of cocaine or its metabolites in his system. The player was subject to a fixed penalty of £1,000 in respect of that violation.

While the RFU does not publish first time offences, under the policy second violations are made public.

On 20 November 2018, the player was subject to another test pursuant to the policy, which returned an adverse analytical finding (‘AAF’) for cannabis and cocaine. He admitted the violation and an independent disciplinary panel hearing took place on 11 February 2019.

The panel, which consisted of Jeremy Summers (Chair), Dr Gary O’Driscoll and Dr Tom Rees, considered the evidence presented and adopted a reduced period of ineligibility of six months and a fixed penalty of £1,000.

RFU Anti-Doping and Illicit Drugs Programme Manager Stephen Watkins said:

“The purpose of the Illicit Drugs Policy is primarily to protect the health and welfare of players. This means that in the first instance, the problem can be dealt with as a confidential health-related issue.

“This is the first time we have had a second offence since the policy was established in 2010. It should send a strong deterrent message to all players that the RFU takes the misuse of substances seriously. Players have responsibilities as role models in our sport and therefore have an important part to play in protecting its reputation.”

Sale Sharks made the below comments on the outcome of an RFU disciplinary hearing held on the 11th February 2019 involving prop Jake Pope.

“Jake has received a six month ban from the RFU following a second violation of their Illicit Drugs Policy.

“As soon as Sale Sharks were made aware of Jake’s failed tests, the club intervened to ensure Jake had the support pathway he required to address the matter and avoid any further issues arising in the future.

“As a role model to young players across the North-West, this behaviour is unacceptable. The club does not condone the misuse of drugs from any player and accept the decision made by the RFU, however Sale Sharks prides itself on being able to offer a career pathway into rugby for people of all backgrounds and circumstances and for this reason we feel it is right that, as a young man who has made mistakes, Jake be given a fair chance to redeem himself.

“Jake will be available to play again from 4th June 2019.”


Premiership

O’Loughlin looks to build on solid start

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Exeter Chiefs

By Mark Stevens
30/9/22

Rory O’Loughlin believes the hard yards put in during a testing pre-season programme have already started to pay dividends for the Exeter Chiefs.

Three games into the new Gallagher Premiership campaign and it’s been a dream start for the Devonians, who have notched up victories over Leicester Tigers, Worcester Warriors and Harlequins.

Irishman O’Loughlin has featured in all three games and he will start tomorrow’s Round Four encounter away to Sale Sharks as the Chiefs look to build on their impressive start.

It will, however, be another acid test for Rob Baxter’s side, particularly as the Sharks themselves are unbeaten in the top flight so far this term.

“It’s a massive challenge for us,” said O’Loughlin, who joined the Chiefs this summer from Leinster. “Already I’ve seen just how competitive the Premiership is. Every week it’s a different challenge and one which you have to be ready for. There are no easy games!”

Last-gasp victories over Leicester Tigers and Harlequins showed the fighting spirit of the Chiefs, whose summer work alongside the Royal Marines has definitely helped to give them a hard-nosed edge to their play.

“There were times in pre-season when I was questioning my move,” joked O’Loughlin. “The days were long, the sessions were hard, but you’ve seen in these first few games that are fitness levels are high and that we’re able to keep going for the full 80 minutes.

“Although we’ve come out of two of those games with last minute scores, we deserved to win those games, so that’s a big positive and something that we can look to build on.”

Exeter’s strong start has certainly laid a solid foundation from which they can build, but O’Loughlin feels there is still more to come from the team, starting at the Salford Stadium this weekend.

“There was a lot of chat during pre-season where we talked about learning from last season, where we missed out on points we probably should have secured,” he added. “As I said, every game is massive and you have to take points when they are on offer.

“Sale this weekend, we know it’s going to be tough. If you look at their team and the way some of their players play, it’s all based around them getting that physical dominance. We’ve talked a lot about this week and we know we have to match them in that area if we are to get anything from the game.

“That said, we’re coming into the game ourselves in a good mindset and looking to build on what we’ve done so far this season. There have been lots of positives in our game and that’s what we need to use again at the weekend.”

Content & Images from – Exeter Chiefs Rugby


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Premiership

Team News | Tigers side to take on Saracens

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Steve Borthwick has named the Leicester Tigers matchday squad for the club’s away game against Saracens in Round 4 of the 2022/23 Gallagher Premiership season.

Hanro Liebenberg captains the side with Ben Youngs named as vice-captain for Saturday’s match at StoneX Stadium.

Borthwick has made eight changes to the starting side from the away win over Northampton Saints in Round 3.

Anthony Watson is named to make his Leicester Tigers senior debut, while Handré Pollard is in line for his first appearance after being included among the replacements.

Phil Cokanasiga, Olly Cracknell, Joe Heyes and Kini Murimurivalu have been named to make their first starts of the 2022/23 campaign after featuring from the bench during the opening rounds.

STARTING XV:
15 Freddie Steward [57]
14 Anthony Watson *
13 Phil Cokanasiga [3]
12 Jimmy Gopperth [3]
11 Kini Murimurivalu [38]
10 Freddie Burns [105]
9 Ben Youngs (vc) [285]
1 James Cronin [3]
2 Charlie Clare [55]
3 Joe Heyes [103]
4 Harry Wells [159]
5 Eli Snyman [21]
6 Olly Cracknell [3]
7 Tommy Reffell [81]
8 Hanro Liebenberg (c) [62]

REPLACEMENTS:
16 Joe Taufete’e [2]
17 Francois van Wyk [20]
18 Dan Cole [293]
19 Ollie Chessum [33]
20 George Martin [42]
21 Jack van Poortvliet [50]
22 Handré Pollard *
23 Chris Ashton [15]

* Leicester Tigers senior debut

Content & Images from – Leicester Tigers Rugby


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Premiership

Roux and van Velze to make first Bath Rugby starts v London Irish

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Bath Rugby have made five changes to their starting XV for the trip to London Irish in Round 4 of the Gallagher Premiership.

Quinn Roux and GJ van Velze will earn their first starts for the club from lock and blindside flanker respectively, while Juan Schoeman will make his maiden start of the campaign.

Josh Bayliss comes back into the back row that is missing Richard de Carpentier and Chris Cloete due to injury. The latter has sustained a broken metatarsal and will begin his rehabilitation post-surgery.

In the backs, Gabriel Hamer-Webb is the only amendment to the backline that started against Wasps. Will Muir suffered an injury in training and will seek specialist opinion. Matt Gallagher retains his place at full-back with Tom de Glanville’s hamstring issue needing further treatment.

Elsewhere, Tom Dunn remains as captain for his 175th Bath appearance with Will Stuart, Josh McNally and Miles Reid also maintaining their spots in the pack. 

Louis Schreuder and Orlando Bailey’s half-back partnership continues as does the midfield link-up of Max Ojomoh and Jonathan Joseph. Joe Cokanasiga completes the XV from the wing.

On the bench, D’Arcy Rae has returned from injury while Tom Ellis and Ruaridh McConnochie are included following midweek action in the Premiership Rugby Cup.


Bath Rugby team to play London Irish


THE OPPOSITION

15 Henry Arundell, 14 Ben Loader, 13 Will Joseph, 12 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ben White; 1 Danilo Fischetti, 2 Agustin Creevy, 3 Lovejoy Chawatama, 4 Api Ratuniyarawa, 5 Rob Simmons, 6 Ben Donnell, 7 Tom Pearson, 8 Matt Rogerson (c)

Replacements

16 Isaac Miller, 17 Will Goodrick-Clarke, 18 Oliver Hoskins, 19 Josh Caulfield, 20 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 21 Chandler Cunningham-South, 22 Caolan Englefield, 23 James Stokes


COMPEED RECOVERY JOURNEYS


 

Content & Images from – Bath Rugby


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