Amateur player Ralph Rainbow has been banned from all sport for four years, from September 30, 2020, until September 29, 2024, following a first anti-doping rule violation (ADRV).


On July 12, 2018, UK Border Force seized a package en route to Rainbow’s home address which contained items used in the process of injecting human growth hormone. Human growth hormone is a prohibited substance in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) prohibited list 2018.

In an interview with UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) on January 16, 2020, Rainbow admitted he had attempted to purchase a prohibited substance to enable him to continue playing rugby.

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Wales’ Dan Lydiate guests on RugbyPass Offload

Rainbow was charged by the Rugby Football Union with two violations – possession (by purchase) and use/attempted use. The case was referred to the independent National Anti-Doping Panel (NADP) by the RFU for determination. Rainbow did not contest the charges.

RFU anti-doping and illicit drugs programme manager Stephen Watkins said: “All rugby players are subject to the anti-doping rules which are in place to protect players and the integrity of our sport.”

The eight-page document explaining the decision that was reached stated: “The panel finds that whilst the player never physically came into possession of a prohibited substance, the evidence submitted by the RFU is sufficient to conclude that, by asking a third party to order the prohibited substance on his behalf to an address over which he maintained control, the player intended to exercise control over a prohibited substance thus constituting effective possession by purchase.


“The panel also finds that the violation of WR regulation 21.2.6 was intentional. In this regard, the panel notes, it is the player who has the burden of proving that the ADRV was not intentional or was justified as defined by WR regulation 

“As the player has made no submissions to this effect and has not contested the charges against him, the player has failed to discharge this burden. Accordingly, the panel finds that the period of Ineligibility as regards the possession by purchase of a prohibited substance is four years.”

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