Rugby Union:Llanelli's Paul Jones given two-year ban for drug misuse

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The Independent Online
Paul Jones, the Llanelli second-row forward and Wales B international, was yesterday banned for two years after being found guilty by the Welsh Rugby Union of drug misuse.

The 24-year-old Jones told an WRU inquiry that he had injected the anabolic steroid testosterone to help him recover from a shoulder injury.

Terry Vaux, the inquiry chairman, said: "We are very sad to be part of this unfortunate matter. This is only the second time ever that a case of intentional use of a banned substance has come before the WRU. We felt that Paul Jones had erred and his punishment reflects the serious view the WRU takes in this case.

"However, given the special circumstances of the case and Paul Jones' genuine remorse, the two-year suspension was backdated to 16 August, 1996, the day Paul Jones advised his club medical officer of his misdemeanour."

Meanwhile, Brian Ashton has not stopped scratching his head from the moment England dropped Jeremy Guscott. "I've racked my brain and I still can't come up with a reason," Ashton, Guscott's coach at Bath, said.

"This season, Jerry has never played better. He is relishing the extra time and space offered by the new laws, and coupled with a professional attitude, looks completely at ease with himself.

"On current form, if there's a better centre anywhere in the northern hemisphere, then he has escaped my attention."

Ashton believes Guscott, who has won 43 caps, will produce something special when Bath visit Northampton today in one of only three Courage League match.

"Bearing in mind this week's events, Jerry will want to go out and show England they've made a mistake. I suspect their decision has hit him hard."

Guscott teams up with the new England captain, Phil de Glanville, at Franklin's Gardens, with three more England backs - Mike Catt, Jon Sleightholme and Adedayo Adebayo - for company.