UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) confirmed yesterday that Darren Eales had tested positive for exogenous anabolic androgenic steroids Boldenone, Trenbolone and Oxymetholone (and their various metabolites) following an out-of-competition test on 19 November last year.
The test came as a result of intelligence received by Scottish Rugby about his alleged use of banned substances.
The 22-year-old prop – who has played most of his rugby for local club Preston Lodge, but last season was also dual registered with Kelso and Melrose – is banned from all competition from 11 December 2014 until 10 December 2016.
His final game prior to testing was on 18 October last year when Preston Lodge won 18-16 at East Kilbride in BT National League Three, Eales scoring a try as they came back from 16-8 down. The week prior to that he had scored a hat-trick of tries at the Pennypit as Preston Lodge had won 41-20 against Dalziel.
By the end of 2014-15 Preston Lodge had finished second in the table behind Lasswade to secure promotion to BT National League Two. In the previous season Eales had played his part as the East Lothian side had won a hat-trick of trophies. They went through the whole campaign unbeaten to lift the BT East One title, the BT East Regional Shield and the BT National Shield. In the latter event they defeated Caithness 27-6 in the final.
When contacted yesterday Preston Lodge officials refused to comment on the case.
UKAD’s director of operations Pat Myhill said: “The case of Darren Eales clearly demonstrates that regardless of the level, sports themselves will not tolerate those who decide to intentionally dope and those who go against the spirit of the game they love.”
Scottish Rugby’s head of regulation Graham Ireland said: “Scottish Rugby has a zero-tolerance policy on doping.
“This violation is a firm reminder that testing can occur at any level of the game, anywhere and at any time. Scottish Rugby encourages anyone with intelligence as to doping offences to contact UKAD or ourselves.”
Since the 2009-10 season there have been more than 1200 drugs tests in Scottish rugby, at all levels of the game, with some 246 having taken place last term.
In 2010 Watsonians hooker Neil Tunnah was found to have taken a slimming product that contained an illegal substance. In 2013 Sam Chalmers of Melrose was found to have used anabolic steroids. He served a two-year ban and has now returned to playing, in Australia.