Leeds pair fined for positive dope test

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The Independent Online

Two of Leeds' Great Britain internationals have been severely reprimanded and fined after testing positive for the banned drug ephedrine.

Keith Senior and Ryan Bailey, who both played in the Rhinos' Grand Final-winning side as well as for their country in the Tri-Nations tournament, have each been ordered to pay £1,500 plus £700 costs after being found guilty of breaching the game's doping controls.

The pair could have been banned for a year under international regulations, but the Rugby League's advisory panel accepted that they had taken the substance by mistake and not to enhance their performance.

Both had declared taking preparations which turned out to contain ephedrine before being tested.

Steven Rutherford of Gateshead Thunder also tested positive for the same drug towards the end of the season and has been ordered to make a contribution towards the costs of his case.

"These cases do not represent a widespread problem in rugby league, but we do feel it is important to clarify issues relating to ephedrine so that all players and relevant personnel have the maximum amount of information to guide them in this important area," said the League's executive chairman, Richard Lewis.

Leeds' chief executive, Gary Hetherington, said that the club would support an expansion of the League's information campaign. "There are clear lessons to be learned," he said.

Ephedrine, which occurs in some cold cures, has often proved a difficult substance for players to avoid, with a sprinkling of positive tests over the last few years.

A suspension would have been a second interruption in Bailey's career. The prop was sent to a young offenders' institution for nine months in 2003 for his part in a brawl outside a Leeds nightclub.

Leeds have made an official approach to Bradford about the availability of their England back-row forward, Jamie Langley, who is one of the players who has been offered to Wakefield in part-exchange for Gareth Ellis.

Langley is the latest in a series of Bradford Bulls players, including Leon Pryce and Jamie Peacock, to be targeted by the Rhinos.