AS MANY as half of Zimbabwe’s Under 20 rugby stars who participated in the Junior World Rugby Trophy finals in Utah, the United States, last month have tested positive to banned substances, it has been claimed.
The Young Sables lost all three group matches against Japan, Georgia and Canada before winning a face-saving seventh and eighth play-off with winless Russia.
Now it has emerged that the International Rugby Board’s anti-doping team which conducted random tests at the tournament is preparing charges against as many as 13 players from the 26-man squad.
Zimbabwe Rugby Union general manager Sifiso Made said they were awaiting further information from the International Rugby Board which has its headquarters in Dublin, Ireland.
A source said: "It potentially is one of the biggest sporting scandals in Zimbabwe's history."
Dominic Rumbles, the IRB’s head of communications, told New Zimbabwe.com by e-mail that rugby’s governing body had adopted a tough regime of doping tests to crack down on cheats in the game.
He said the IRU would only comment on the Zimbabwe players after hearings are conducted.
“You will be aware that the IRB as a signatory of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code, operates a zero-tolerance policy towards drugs cheats in sport and undertakes an extensive annual programme of education and testing equating to over 5,000 tests,” he said.
“An extensive testing programme was undertaken at the recent IRB JWRT in Salt Lake City. It would be inappropriate to discuss the outcomes of such testing programmes prior to any results being received.
“In the event of a positive result, the IRB would not comment until parties are notified and final hearings into any such matter are concluded.”
Sources told New Zimbabwe.com that the Zimbabwe Rugby Union had become aware that several players were using banned substances during the Cottco Schools Rugby Festival held at Prince Edward School in Harare, but did little to take corrective measures.
A source said: “They conducted a workshop to enlighten school children on the dangers using performance enhancing drugs, but no disciplinary action was taken.”
Now the problem has come back to haunt the ZRU spectacularly with the affected players facing certain bans – potentially ending some promising careers.
Zimbabwe’s Results at Junior World Rugby Trophy
18 Jun 2012: Japan39 - 36 Zimbabwe (Murray Rugby Park Stadium, Salt Lake City, Utah22 Jun
22 June 2012: Georgia 43 - 7 Zimbabwe (Murray Rugby Park Stadium, Salt Lake City, Utah)
26 June 2012: Canada 66 - 45 Zimbabwe (Murray Rugby Park Stadium, Salt Lake City, Utah)
30 June 2012: Russia 10 - 22 Zimbabwe (Murray Rugby Park Stadium, Salt Lake City, Utah)
ZIMBABWE TEAM TO JWRT
Bright Chivandire 01/03/1969 Head Coach
Colleen De Jong13/01/1963 Team Manager
Godwin Murambiwa 31/12/1967 Assistant Coach
Gary Hewitt 08/06/1980 Assistant Coach
Margie Gibson 04/01/1961 Physiotherapist
Austin Jeans 04/10/1961 Team Doctor
Tyran Fagan 25/04/1992 Harlequins, KZN (Prop)
Kuda Makuvire 07/06/1993 Old Georgians (Prop)
Ian Muza 21/01/1992 Durban Collegians (Prop)
Thabani Ndaba 03/06/1993 Prince Edward School (Prop)
Daleroy Sibanda 24/02/1992 Pennsylvania University (Prop)
Andries Van Heerden 24/07/1993 Old Georgians (Hooker)
Matthew Lawson 28/09/1993 Old Georgians (Lock)
Graham Logan 31/05/1992 SB Valke (Lock)
Michael Sinclair 06/07/1992 Pretoria University (Lock)
Joshua Smallbones 05/02/1993 Old Georgians (Lock)
Tonderai Chigumbura 11/05/1992 Old Georgians (Flanker)
Tawanda Chowe 03/04/1993 Old Hararians (Flanker)
Daniel Rorke 28/08/1993 Old Georgians (Flanker)
Tapiwa Tsomondo 05/05/1993 Old Hararians (Number 8)
Dylan Coetzee 30/11/1992 Old Hararians (Scrumhalf)
Michael MacIntosh 16/11/1992 Pretoria University (Scrumhalf)
Robert Sargeant 27/01/1993 Harlequins, KZN (Scrumhalf)
James Forrester 09/06/1993 North Walsham (Flyhalf)
Sean Linfield 24/06/1992 Harlequins, KZN (Flyhalf)
Taku Chieza 16/05/1993 Harlequins, KZN (Centre)
Richard Morkel 05/04/1992 Pretoria University (Centre)
Mclean Muhambi 27/12/1992 Zvishavane (Centre)
Joshua Broomberg 12/09/1993 Pretoria (Wing)
Justin Coles 03/02/1992 Old Georgians (Wing)
Brian Ndudzo 06/01/1993 Oranjemund (Wing)
Victor Mushoriwa 01/08/1992 Old Hararians (Fullback)