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Former Ireland forward copped 2 year ban for use of anabolic agent

By Ian Cameron
Ireland's Dan Tuohy during the captain's run. Ireland Rugby Squad Captain's Run, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE (Photo by Sportsfile/Corbis/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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It has been revealed that former Ireland second row Dan Tuohy was banned for two years after testing positive for the use of an anabolic agent in France.


Tuohy earned 11 Test caps between 2010 and 2015, featuring twice in the title-winning 2014 Six Nations. At club level he played rugby for Ulster, Worcester Warriors, Bristol Bears, Leicester Tigers, Stade Francais and Vannes.

Writing in the Irish Independent, Paul Kimmage tells how Tuohy, whose career had just come to an end at ProD2 club Vannes, tested positive for SARMs use following a routine test by de l’Agence Francaise de Lutte contre le Dopage (AFLD) in 2020.

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SARMS – Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators – are a class of drugs that have similar anabolic properties to anabolic steroids and have become popular in the bodybuilding community in recent years.

Tuohy, who had suffered a severe arm fracture which had effectively ended his playing career, ordered the substance online in order to build back the muscle loss in his arm as a result of the injury in September 2019. He took the agent for a total of four months.

The arm injury would result in Tuohy retiring from rugby in February 2020 but a week after his public retirement, he was tested as he had been lifting weights at the Vannes’ gym at Stade Jo Courtel.

Despite his playing career having ended, Tuohy was banned from the sport for a period of two years following a decision that was eventually handed down a year later on February 24th, 2021 by the AFLD, after the former Ulster player appealed an initial four-year ban successfully.


Just three months after the final decision – which RugbyPass has seen – Tuohy took up a role with Malone RFC in Northern Ireland as their academy coach, which Tuohy says he understood at the time was not in breach of his ban.

The AFLD are a French organisation whose remit is in French sport. However, as a national anti-doping agency they are a listed member of WADA, whose protocols both World Rugby and Irish Rugby adhere to.

Tuohy had not been under contract with the IRFU for five years at that stage and did not inform the union of his positive test.

In a statement given to Kimmage, the Irish Rugby Football Union said: “The IRFU had not been made aware that former player Dan Tuohy had tested positive for banned substances in France. The IRFU, through Ulster Rugby, will examine the circumstances surrounding Dan Touhy’s subsequent appointment to a coaching position by a domestic club in Ulster.”


While Tuohy claims he has always remained transparent about the ban, he admits that he was reluctant to go public due to the embarrassment of the breach, even if it come at a time when he had no intention of returning to rugby as a player. He also feared that it could affect his future employment outside of rugby.

With his ban having now been completed, he is free to participate in the sport once more.

You can read Paul Kimmage’s full story here.


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