Rugby League: Hilton banned after positive test

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The Independent Online
The Rochdale Hornets forward, Tony Hilton, has been suspended for three months by the Rugby League board of directors after he tested positive for the banned substance, ephedrine.

Hilton, 24, was tested after Rochdale's First Division match at Featherstone Rovers on 1 November.

Paul Harrison, the Rugby Football League's media manager, said: "Ephedrine is found in cough and cold remedies which can be bought over the counter without prescription, but obviously we are determined to eradicate any form of drugs from rugby league."

Hilton is the first player in the domestic game to be banned for drug- taking this season.

However, three players were thrown out of the World Cup after testing positive for banned substances. New Zealand's Syd Eru tested positive for pseudoephedrine, Stephane Millet of France had traces of cannabis in his sample and South African Pierre Grobbelaar was guilty of using the anabolic steroid Nandrolene.

Last season, the game was devastated when the Doncaster full-back, Jamie Bloem, tested positive for Nandrolene. He was suspended for two years.

In May, the Oldham hooker, David Stephenson, was given a two-year ban after his sample showed traces of the same drug.

Swinton's former Great Britain winger, Barrie Ledger, was suspended for six months for using cannabis while Whitehaven's Dennis Smith was banned for three months after testing postive for ephedrine.

The Rugby League has taken several steps to try to eradicate the use of banned substances in the game. It tests players at training in and out of season and also tests two members of each side after all matches.