Mahlatse “Chiliboy” Ralepelle can kiss his rugby career goodbye as he has been handed an eight-year ban after testing positive for a banned substance last year. It is the third time the former Springbok and Sharks hooker has tested positive for a banned substance. It is also only 18 months after his last positive test for a banned substance.
This comes hot on the heels of the much-publicised positive test of Springbok and Lions winger, Aphiwe Dyantyi, just before the World Cup last year. Dyantyi, the 2018 World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year, is still awaiting a date for his hearing after his appeal, which is scheduled to be heard in September.
Chiliboy was tested during an out-of-competition random test at Kings Park in January 2019. The subsequent A sample urine test returned positive for the anabolic substance Zeranol. He exercised the right to have his B sample tested, which also returned positive. Ralepelle has been given 21 days in which he can appeal the ban.
A statement from the SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport reads: “The player tested positive for the banned anabolic agent, Zeranol, during an out-of-competition test on January 17, 2019. The athlete challenged the doping charge and was afforded the opportunity to seek legal counsel to present his case and version of events to the tribunal panel. The hearings were adjourned multiple times and were held over a period of six months. The panel reached a decision first on the merits of the case, when they found the player guilty of a doping offence.
“Ralepelle had previously tested positive on two separate occasions while playing overseas. The Zeranol-positive case was his third positive dope test within a 10-year period. However, the player’s first positive case was ruled a No-Fault decision and he then received a reprimand. The panel had to refer to sports jurisprudence to determine the appropriate sanction, which they ruled to be the player’s second doping offence.
“The Independent Doping Tribunal Panel rules that Mr Ralepelle must serve an eight-year ban for doping. The ban will expire on the January 27, 2027. The player has 21 days within which to file an appeal against the sanction.”
The aftermath of the test has seen Ralepelle make a stinging attack on the systems that govern SA Rugby, especially black rugby players, and has indicated he will fight till the bitter end. He has also questioned a string of procedural discrepancies that might have compromised his sample. Chiliboy claims the doping officer kept the samples in his home and that SA Institute for Drug-free Sport (SAIDS) wanted to “save costs” in the process. Also key to his defence is the unaccounted 12-hour period during which his sample was being transported, but the chain of custody could not locate his whereabouts.
SAIDS CEO Khalid Galant responded by saying Ralepelle had had the chance to present all the above assertions at his initial independent doping tribunal hearing.
For Chiliboy, at the age of 33, eight years on the sidelines will virtually end his career, as it means by the time the ban is lifted he will be 41 years old. Last year Ralepelle denied taking banned substances and argued that the substance could have found its way into his system through a change in his diet. The world of social media has been relentless and there is not a great deal of sympathy for Chiliboy.
As things stand now, it looks like gloom and doom for the former Springbok hooker. The unfortunate events will end his playing days in disgrace – as a cheat.