Welsh lock admits taking drugs

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A leading Welsh player is facing a two-year suspension after giving a positive drug test. Paul Jones, a 24-year-old Wales A lock forward, has admitted taking testosterone and his club, Llanelli, have responded by launching their own anti-drug initiative headed by the former All-Black prop Steve McDowell.

Llanelli's chairman, Stuart Gallagher, said: "We asked our playing staff to volunteer for tests. Paul Jones told us that he had been taking anabolic steroids and the club informed him of the International Board regulations. He was tested and then asked not to train or come to the club until the IB rules had been complied with. Paul was also made aware that the club deplores the use of performance-enhancing drugs and in no way condones what was done. Paul deeply regrets his mistake and the club look forward to him returning."

Jones underwent his first test last month and a second on 18 September, both of which were carried out by the Sports Council of Great Britain on behalf of the Welsh Rugby Union. A spokesman for the WRU said: "We deplore the use of banned substances and will take the appropriate action under the IRFB regulations. Hopefully, this episode will deter any other athlete from experimenting with performance-enhancing drugs."

Jones is only the second Welsh player to test positive for steroids - the first was the former South Wales Police centre Richie Griffiths, in 1990 after a Division One game against Aberavon. He later resigned from the police force after just four days in the job and declined the opportunity to have a second sample tested.

l The Australian Rugby Union meet tomorrow to resolve a dispute with the home unions over the schedule for the Wallabies' eight-week tour of Europe which starts next month. The ARU want to play an international against England on either 2 or 16 November and have threatened to cancel their 1 December Test against Wales if the home unions fail to improve on a "preposterous" offer of two midweek dates - 3 or 4 December.