Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
World World

Former Ireland lock suggests asterisk beside Springboks RWC win

By Ian Cameron
Rassie Erasmus /Getty

Trending on RugbyPass

More News More News

Controversial Irish pundit Neil Francis has suggested putting an asterix beside the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup win due to the proliferation of steroids in South African rugby.


The former Ireland lock says that questions are yet to be answered around reports of anabolic steroid use, claims that have dogged the rugby playing nation for years.

Francis went into the detail about the concoction of drugs used by disgraced Lions winger Aphiwe Dyantyi.

In August SA Rugby confirmed that the South African Institute of Drug Free Sport (SAIDS) had found an adverse analytical finding in a sample collected from Springbok wing Dyantyi in a doping test on 2 July 2019.

Dyantyi’s B-sample also tested positive for multiple anabolic steroids and metabolites and he was formally charged with a doping offence.

Video Spacer

“Despite Siya Kolisi’s heart-warming humility and Rassie Erasmus’ astonishing turnaround of not just a team in decline but the sport at every level in that country, questions still have to be asked,” wrote Francis.


“Let’s get back to the kernel of the issue. Dyantyi is a superstar and if he was based in Europe he would surely be facing a four-year ban. He is, however, based in South Africa, where Chilliboy Ralepele managed to continue playing and finish his career at the Sharks despite being twice caught and suspended for prohibited substances.

“Dyantyi may well get what is due to him but here is the problem: The scope and the scale of the investigation is purely limited to the player himself.”

Francis then cited a study which found 10 per cent of a sample size of 12,000 schoolboys in KWA Zulu-Natal claimed to be taking steroids.


“In a recent state-sponsored survey conducted by the South African Institute for Drug Free Sport, a poll of 12,000 high schoolboys showed that 10 per cent of them took anabolic steroids. The poll was conducted in the KWA Zulu-Natal region of the country.

“Why would high school boys admit to taking steroids if they had not taken them in the first place? It’s only a sample but 1,200 boys, some as young as 13? Where did these children get this stuff? How could their parents not know? How could the schools and the unions not know?”

Francis, a columnist known to push buttons, signed off with: “Is Dyantyi, a poster boy for the World Cup and winner of World Rugby’s young player of the year, the only one? Or the only one to be caught? The player in my view will go down but the system stays in place. What were we saying about latitude and dispensation?

“Do we need to put an asterisk beside the winners of the 2019 World Cup?”

Video Spacer


Join free and tell us what you really think!

Join Free
TRENDING The two main selection questions the Boks have answered The selection questions the Boks have answered