Borders rugby player suspended until 2023 after Anti-Doping rule violation

Sean Goodfellow has been banned for four years. Pic: SNS/SRU
Sean Goodfellow has been banned for four years. Pic: SNS/SRU
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Borders rugby player Sean Goodfellow has been suspended from all sport for a period of four years following an Anti-Doping Rule Violation.

The former Jed-Forest, Hawick and South scrum-half was charged with World Rugby’s Anti-Doping Regulations, accused of “Evading, refusing or failing to submit to Sample collection” on 2 August 2018 and has been banned until January 2023.

He last appeared on a rugby pitch for Jed in the Premiership play-off match against Glasgow Hawks at the end of the 2017-18 season.

Goodfellow, from Hawick, was jailed for four-and-a-half years in July 2010, when he was aged 19, after admitting causing death by dangerous driving in an April 2009 crash between Kelso and Jedburgh in which Scotland star Stuart Hogg was a passenger in his car and resulted in the death of his teenage friend Richard Wilkinson.

Another 19-year-old in another car was also jailed after the pair admitted to racing at 90mph.

The UK Anti-Doping ruling on Goodfellow stated: “A Doping Control Officer from UKAD called at the home of the Respondent at around 0630 for the purpose of carrying out Sample Collection (taking a Sample of the Respondent’s urine in controlled conditions in order that it be later analysed in laboratory conditions to identify the presence of any Prohibited Substance(s)).

“The Respondent was present but declined to take part in Sample Collection on the stated bases that he was not registered with the SRU to play rugby in Season 2019/2020 and that he had to get to his work and had insufficient time to take part in Sample Collection.

“Later checking with the SRU identified that, in fact, the Respondent was registered at the SRU as a player with his club in Scotland, that there was no break in his registration status and that his registration rendered him subject to the ADR, as described above.

“This included being bound to submit, including on 02 August 2018, amongst other requirements, to Out of Competition, Sample Collection as and when required to do so by UKAD.”

UKAD’s Chief Executive, Nicole Sapstead said in the ruling: “It is the responsibility of all athletes to comply with sample collection regulations.

“Failure to do so may result in the same sanction as a missed test.”

The period of ineligibility shall apply from the date of sample collection (2 January 2019) until midnight on 1 January 2023.”

The full judgment can be read on the UKAD website.

Goodfellow is the second Jed-Forest player this year to have received a drugs ban. In March, back-row forward Blake Roff was banned for two years after being found guilty of possession of clenbuterol.

Roff was traced by anti-doping authorities to have bought the sympathomimetic amine online in December 2014 while still living and playing in his native New Zealand.

The SRU’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr James Robson said: “At Scottish Rugby we take a very strong line on anti-doping, our position is that of UK Anti-Doping and WADA – 100 per cent Me – it’s the athlete’s responsibility to ensure clean, fair sport at all times.

“We have a robust process in place for those who try to by-pass the anti-doping rules.”

In a statement, an SRU spokesperson added: “Scottish Rugby is committed to the fight against doping to protect the integrity of the game.

“As a governing body, we have an extensive education programme for players, at all levels, on the consequences of taking banned substances, from both a health and sporting perspective, and adhering to the rules of testing.

“We welcome Sean Goodfellow’s ban as it serves as a timely reminder to all players that they have a responsibility to adhere to the anti-doping code.”

A spokesperson for Jed-Forest RFC said: “Sean was still registered with us but, as far as we are concerned, was not a member of or player for the club at the time of his violation.”

Other doping offences in Scottish rugby include the Marr prop Andrew Acton in February 2018, when the South African was suspended from all sport for three years and nine months after failing a test taken during one of the Ayrshire club’s training sessions in August 2017.

The most high-profile doping case in Scottish rugby is that of former Melrose and Scotland Under-20 player Sam Chalmers, the son of Grand Slam hero Craig, who was banned for two years in 2013, for steroids use. He since returned to the game and takes a proactive role in campaigning for clean sport and giving educational talks on the subject.

Since 2010, when the SRU synched its anti-doping programme with UKAD, there were also bans for an unnamed lower league player who tested for diuretics, which he said he took to “look good on holiday”.

In 2015, Darren Eales of Preston Lodge was given a two-year ban for anabolic steroid use.

In 2008, former Scotland lock Scott MacLeod failed two doping tests, while playing in Wales for Scarlets, first for banned substance terbutaline, only to be retrospectively cleared after it was revealed to be nothing more than an administrative error regarding asthma medication. He later failed a doping test due to unusually high testosterone levels but was later cleared when it was accepted that the rise was due to a large amount of alcohol being consumed the night before the test.

Scotland and former Edinburgh flanker John Hardie served three-month ban last season after an internal investigation into “gross misconduct” which was widely reported to be in regards to cocaine use. It is understood that the New Zealand-born player did not fail a test.

Doping in rugby, while once thought negligible, has become a developing story, with Welsh club rugby being hit by a spate of transgressions in recent years and, at the start of last year, four New Zealand players, including female international Zoe Berry and former Under-20 and sevens player Glen Robertson were banned for use of stimulants.

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