Former All Blacks Joe Rokocoko (left) and Dan Carter helped Racing 92 win the French title last season. Photo: Getty Images
PARIS — Former All Blacks Dan Carter and Joe Rokocoko’s agent rejected any implication his clients were drug cheats yesterday, while their French rugby club Racing 92 denied that the duo broke doping rules after a French newspaper reported that the two players tested positive for steroids.
Paris-based sports daily L’Equipe reported on Thursday that the former New Zealand internationals failed a drug test after their club Racing 92 beat Toulon in the French Top 14 final in Barcelona in June.
Their Argentinian team-mate Juan Imhoff was also caught in the operation carried out by French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD), according to the paper.
Carter, widely regarded as the best fly-half ever, is world rugby’s highest-paid star after moving to France following a glittering career with the All Blacks. The 34-year-old earned 112 caps and won two World Cups with New Zealand, racking up a record 1,598 Test points, while Rokocoko played 68 times for the All Blacks.
Any drug taint would be a major blow for rugby in New Zealand, which is already reeling from a series of scandals.
But the player’s management company, Essentially Group, which also represents Rokocoko, said they were “relaxed” about the situation because Racing’s club doctor had filled in all the required documents.
Simon Porter, their agent, said this meant they had a therapeutic use exemption allowing them to use the corticosteroid medication.
“We were reassured that there was nothing to worry about, that there was no wrongdoing, that there was no case to answer for,” he told TVNZ. “It’s just a therapeutic use; cortisone is a common drug used to treat pain and inflammation.
“The boys are not enjoying the attention but they’re confident that everything is in order and everything is fine.”
Carter was recovering from a calf injury ahead of the Top 14 final, while Rokocoko had a knee problem.
Meanwhile, Racing 92 said that the medical treatment received by the three players did not require authorisation from sports authorities.
L’Equipe said that once alerted by the AFLD, the French Rugby Federation had 40 days to investigate the trio. If the probe failed to find a medical reason for the corticosteroid use, they could face disciplinary action. The federation has not yet commented on the report.
It comes a day after All Black scrum-half Aaron Smith admitted a recent toilet tryst with a mystery woman at a Christchurch airport was a “huge mistake”. Coach Steve Hansen sent the 54-Test veteran home from South Africa where the All Blacks play the Springboks this weekend in Durban. AFP