Rhys Webb could be paid to sit at home in Wales for 2 years
The former Wales and British & Irish Lions scrumhalf is contesting excusations that he failed a doping test, namely for human growth hormone (HGH). It was reported in August that Webb returned a positive test for growth hormone following an unannounced screening conducted by the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD).
Webb is facing a four-year ban if found guilty, which would end his rugby career.
According to Midi Olympique, Webb has returned to Wales and has found himself in a bizarre situation where he is being paid by the club while his case is being investigated.
It means Webb is essentially being paid to sit at home in Wales by the French club, as he is not allowed to play for them, nor is he allowed to play for any other side as he is technically still under contract.
The AFLD can offer Webb an admission of guilt and the necessary sanction but if he contests the matter the case will go before an AFLD committee in France, a lengthy process that could take months.
Biarritz Olympique is said to still be waiting on a notification concerning the analysis of Webb’s B sample, which could potentially exonerate the former Ospreys halfback, or damn him.
However, as long as the case isn’t heard and Webb continues to assert his innocence, Biarritz will still have to pay his wages, even if he’s a 1,000km away in Wales.
Webb represented the British and Irish Lions on their 2017 tour of New Zealand and won 40 Wales caps.
The 34-year-old was recalled to the national set-up by head coach Warren Gatland during last season’s Guinness Six Nations but announced his international retirement after being named in Wales’ preliminary World Cup training squad.
Former Osprey Webb had agreed terms with Biarritz until 2025, his second spell in French rugby having featured for Toulon between 2018 and 2020.
Webb scored a try on his Biarritz debut on August 17 but was not involved against Valance Romans the following weekend.
With Biarritz in 10th place on the Pro D2 standing, one imagines they would like the re-route Webb’s sizeable salary onto a player they can actually field as quickly as possible.
additional reporting PA