Namibia’s romp over Hong Kong U20s tainted by suspected anti-doping violation
A Namibian player under investigation for violating an anti-doping rule has overshadowed his country’s 70-8 pool win over Hong Kong and their subsequent qualification for the third-place play-off match at the World Rugby U20 Trophy in Zimbabwe.
The as yet unnamed Namibian player, who is believed to have started Wednesday’s match against Hong Kong, failed an out-of-competition doping test performed in Windhoek on 5 April, World Rugby said in a statement on its Keep Rugby Clean website.
The global governing body said the player had been “provisionally suspended from playing or training for his team or participating in any other team or any organised rugby activity until this matter [was] resolved” after a urine sample returned “an adverse analytical finding for dehydrochlormethyltestosterone and methandienone”.
Both substances are listed as banned anabolic steroids by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and are prohibited at all times, both in and out of competition.
According to World Rugby, early last month the Namibia U20 squad provided urine samples to a doping control officer from the South African Institute for Drug Free Sport and these were transported to a WADA-accredited laboratory in Switzerland.
World Rugby said after the game against Hong Kong on Wednesday that “the player was removed from the [Namibia] U20 squad in Harare, Zimbabwe with immediate effect”.
“Further investigations are to follow and disciplinary action will be taken by the Namibia Rugby Union, depending on the outcome of such investigations,” it added.
Namibia ran in nine tries against Hong Kong to finish second in pool B at the second-tier international junior contest in Harare.
But their feat of reaching the third-place play-off match against Fiji was massively damaged by the allegations aimed at one of the southern African nation’s starting 15.
Namibian fly-half Cliven Loubser was one of the stars of the Hong Kong game, scoring a try – worth six points under the tournament’s trial scoring system – and slotting eight-of-nine conversions for a total tally of 22.
Two tries each were provided by number eight and captain Riaan de Klerk and wing Unomasa Kavita, while scrum-half Jerome Beukes, fullback Stiaan van der Merwe, winger Gino Wilson and replacement back Sam Kuvare added one apiece.
Namibia beat the USA 46−44 in their opening match, but lost 40−22 against finalists Spain last Saturday.
Hong Kong finished bottom of the pool and were set to play hosts Zimbabwe in the seventh-place play-off game on Sunday.