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Former Wales star Rhys Webb facing career ending ban

By Ian Cameron
Antoine Dupont #9 of Team France exchange his shirt with Rhys Webb #9 of Wales after the Six Nations Rugby match between France and Wales at Stade de France on March 18, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Xavier Laine/Getty Images)

Former Wales and British and Irish Lions star Rhys Webb is facing a potentially career-ending ban after reportedly returning a positive test for growth hormone following an unannounced screening conducted by the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD).

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L’Equipe report that the test is understood to have taken place during a training session in July. Webb could receive a four year ban if found guilty, which would end his rugby career.

This development marks the first time that an athlete has been implicated for using growth hormone in France since 2016, largely due to the difficulty in detecting the synthetic growth hormone within the narrow timeframe it is detectable in the body.

However, according to L’Equipe, a scientific breakthrough emerged in 2021 that harnessed an indirect marker (IGF1) to considerably extend the window of time for detection of the substance to about the span of a week.

“The implicated club is presently in a phase of anticipation, pending the course of the inquiry,” affirmed Jean-Baptiste Aldigé, the President at Biarritz Olympique said.

Formerly at the Ospreys, Webb embarked on a fresh chapter in his rugby career by enlisting with Biarritz this season, who compete in the Pro D2 league.  The 34-year-old made a brilliant debut, notching up a try in their 35-18 victory over Colomiers in his first match for the club.

However, Webb was missing for their next match, failing to grace the line-up for the subsequent clash with Valence-Romans, as revelations regarding his positive test reached the club’s upper echelons earlier this week.

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In response to the unfolding situation, Jean-Baptiste Aldigé said: “We have indeed been apprised of these developments. The ongoing inquiry is being closely monitored by the club, which stands distanced from any implication.”

It’s been reported that Webb failed to disclose his use of the substance to the team doctor. Growth hormone is typically used to treat children with growth difficulties during childhood but it does have other therapeutic uses. However, the substance is commonly used by bodybuilders due to its profound anabolic effects.

Earlier today it was revealed that Springboks flyhalf Elton Jantjies is also facing a failed test.

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Al 320 days ago

"...according to L’Equipe, a scientific breakthrough emerged in 2021 that ... considerably extend(s) the window of time for detection of the substance ..."

Okay, does this mean we'll see many more positive tests in near future?

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