Dope ban for Highlanders' Eagle

Sat, 21 Jan 2012 00:00
USA and Highlanders ace James Paterson has been slapped with a four month ban for using a banned substance at the World Cup.

USA and Highlanders ace James Paterson has been slapped with a four month ban for using a banned substance at the World Cup.

The 24-year-old injured his shoulder against Russia at the World Cup, and was prescribed oxycodone by USA team doctor.

USA rugby expressed their embarrassment in a statement after Paterson tested positive for the painkiller that is classified by world doping body WADA as a narcotic and is prohibited in competition only.

USA rugby chief executive Nigel Melville said that Paterson did no wrong.

"We must sincerely apologise to James who was very understanding and candid throughout this entire ordeal," Melville said in a statement.

"James's character or integrity should not be in question whatsoever.

"Trust is at the center of this issue, and James was acting on the trust he had in the medical staff. Unfortunately, the blame lies with the player rather than the doctor who made a serious error."

IRB Anti-Doping Manager Tim Ricketts said this ban was a good lesson for players.

"The main message to come from this error is that all medical personnel and players must be diligent in checking all medications whether it be over the counter or prescription medicine to ensure it does not contain any prohibited substances. Under the strict liability principle a player is responsible for any prohibited substance found in their system."

Paterson's ban began on October 13 last year and will end on February 13.

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