(Reuters) - There were two positive anti-doping tests out of more than 700 conducted across all levels of rugby in England in the 2016-17 season, with both violations falling outside the professional game, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) said on Thursday.
The programme carried out 623 tests within the elite game -- including 108 from junior academies -- while 119 were conducted at community level rugby, the seventh annual report of the RFU’s anti-doping advisory group said.
The two players in the community game have been banned for four years for using prohibited substances while a third, who tested positive for an illicit drug, was handed a two-year ban.
The report added that a fourth player, whose sample was within the case management process, could be confirmed as an anti-doping violation.
“As a sport, we must remain vigilant and ensure that robust testing and education continue to be at the forefront of our efforts,” Richard Bryan, a director at the Rugby Players Association, said in a statement.
Premiership Rugby director Phil Winstanley said the report had highlighted their commitment towards keeping the sport clean at the professional level. “I‘m delighted to see that the report yet again has returned a clean bill of health,” he said.
All tests were targeted and random both in and out-of-competition.
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis