Sat, Jul 22, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Wendell Sailor banned, sacked after failing drugs test


Australia winger Wendell Sailor acknowledges the crowd after the Rugby World Cup pool game against Ireland in Melbourne, Australia, on Nov. 1, 2003.


Wendell Sailor's troubled rugby career took a turn for the worse yesterday.

The Australian Rugby Union said test winger Sailor had been suspended for two years after testing positive for cocaine and that his contract had been terminated.

"Wendell Sailor's behavior has been extremely disappointing and we have no hesitation in terminating his contract," the ARU said in a statement. "Australian rugby condemns the use of performance enhancing drugs and doping practices in sport."

Sailor's contract was due to expire at the end of next year. He tested positive following a Super 14 match between his New South Wales Waratahs and the ACT Brumbies on April 16.

The ARU said an independent judicial committee had found the 32-year-old Sailor guilty of taking a prohibited substance -- benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine -- and had informed the union of its decision yesterday.

Sailor was notified of his positive test on May 12 and the New South Wales Rugby Union placed the 37-test veteran on provisional suspension.

He requested that his "B" sample be tested on May 22. On June 1, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency informed him that the second sample was also positive for cocaine.

A judicial committee hearing took place on Tuesday in Sydney, and the committee found Sailor guilty of taking the prohibited substance yesterday.

The ARU, as part of the International Rugby Board, is a signatory to the World Anti-Doping Agency. The Australian government and its Australian Sports Commission have also adopted the WADA code.

In August 1997, Sailor was charged with assaulting a man in a Brisbane nightclub, but he was acquitted in September 1999 when the jury accepted he did not throw the first punch.

In October, 2000, he was arrested in a street in Townsville in north Queensland state at 5am for being drunk in a public place, while with the Kangaroos rugby league squad preparing for a World Cup match in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

In May 2001, he was fined and ordered to pay compensation for spitting in a woman's face. No conviction was recorded, despite the magistrate saying Sailor had demonstrated "unlawfully contemptuous and degrading behavior" to the woman.

A month later, Sailor smashed a truck window and admitted being the aggressor in road rage incident in Brisbane. He apologized and paid for the damage, and no charges were laid.

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