Steroid Use by Rugby Players at Coca-Cola Craven Week

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The South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport reported that 8.5% of 17 and 18 year-old rugby players tested positive for anabolic steroid use at the Coca-Cola Craven Week rugby tournament in Kimberley in July.

Khalid Galant, the CEO for the Institute for Drug-Free Sport, announced that only 47% of rugby players were subjected to anti-doping tests. Galant reported analytical positives for 4 athletes out of this limited sample of participants.

One additional participant tested positive for nandrolone metabolites but the levels were considered too low to warrant further testing. Nandrolone is the active androgen in the popular steroid Deca Durabolin popularly known as “Deca”.

Two of the four rugby players failed the testosterone:epitestosterone ratio (T:E ratio) test which suggests exogenous testosterone use. However, the Institute for Drug-Free Sport has sent these preliminary positive results to a WADA-accredited laboratory in Germany for carbon isotope ratio (CIR) testing in order to confirm that the elevated levels of testosterone came from injectable or oral testosterone products.

The Coca-Cola Under 18 Craven Week is sanctioned by the South African Rugby Union (SARU). The national rugby tournament has become an annual hunting ground for professional talent scouts to recruit the best up-and-coming players. Participants are under considerable pressure to qualify for Craven Week in order to increase the chances of furthering their rugby careers.

The steroid scandal at Craven Week comes only a couple months after Drug Detection International in Johannesburg uncovered a high rate of illegal steroid use by students at eighteen of South Africa’s top high schools. Twenty-one positive steroid results were detected out of a sample of 130 students in May 2011. Sixty percent of those testing positive participated in organized competitive sports such as rugby.

Rugby players who tested positive for anabolic steroids or other prohibited performance-enhancing drugs face a ban from competition of up to two years under sanctions established by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Steroids at Coca-Cola Craven Week


Times Live. (August 3, 2011). School boys test positive for steroids at Craven Week. Retrieved from