NZ club player banned for six years

Date published: May 11 2016

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A Wellington club player has been banned for six years by the New Zealand Rugby Union after he tested positive for a banned substance.

Andrew Burne, who was 21 at the time of the violations, played for the Johnsonville's premier and Wellington Maori teams. 

Burne, who found about the sanctions via www.stuff.co.nz, said he was disappointed that the NZRU told him they are still deliberating on his case. 

"They said to me, 'in two weeks time we'll come back to you and so we can go over it again or you can appeal it'," Burne told Stuff.

"I was pretty much waiting for them to contact me, to get the verdict, and then go back to them and sort it out."

The player was charged with contravening the Medicines Act 1981 when four bottles of Dianabol was found at his home back in September 2013, to which the player pleaded guilty and was released without any conviction. 

Drug Free Sport New Zealand (DFS) took the case to NZR's judicial committee, who then temporary suspended Burne on December 23 last year. This is also the date from which his six-year ban will kick in.  

Use of a prohibited substance, possession of prohibited substances and trafficking or attempted trafficking in any prohibited substance.

The trafficking violation however is the one with the most serious sanction and carries a minimum ban of four years and a maximum ban of life.

NZRU general manager, Neil Sorenson, said in no way or form will prohibited substances be tolerated.

"We will not accept doping at any level within our sport,"  Sorensen told The42.ie.

"This ban sends a very clear message, banned substances, doping, illegal drugs, steroids, whatever label you want to give it, they’re not part of rugby or any sport in New Zealand.

"We work hard to ensure that the game is clean, at all levels and so tough responses to anti-doping violations are an important part of enforcing that message."

Despite the tremendous ongoing work that Drug Free Sport New Zealand, which enforces World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) codes, have done within all sporting codes in the country, Sorenson still believes that there's more to be done. 

"We think the game in this country is relatively clean compared to other countries," he said.

"But we take nothing for granted and we’ll continue to improve the guidance we provide young players so we can create a great culture for rugby free of drugs."

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