Player blames hair growth tonic for drug test

Japan rugby World Cup hopeful Ryohei Yamanaka has blamed a hair growth tonic for a positive doping test that has put his career in danger.

Japanese media reported late Sunday that the one-cap stand-off tested positive in a random check during the a training camp ahead of the Asian Five Nations tournament in April and May.

The Kobelco Steelers rookie, 22, had used a hair growth tonic which contained an unnamed banned substance, according to the reports, some of which identified the agent as one that promotes moustache growth.

“I am sorry for stirring up all the fuss,” Yamanaka, a former Waseda University vice-captain, said on the micro-blogging website Twitter after the reports came out. He did not directly mention the doping test.

“It was not a hair growth tonic which helps grow hair on the head,” he added.

The Japan Rugby Football Union (JRFU) and the Kobelco Steelers office declined to comment on the reports.

Yamanaka left the Brave Blossoms squad and came home from Hong Kong on May 1 after learning about the positive result to await the analysis of a second sample, the reports said.

Japan went on to win their fourth straight title at the tournament.

The JRFU disciplinary commission will decide on any action against him pending the outcome of the second test.

The national union has only explained that Yamanaka had to “come home due to various reasons”.

Japan coach and All Black legend John Kirwan, in his regular column in the Daily Yomiuri, only mentioned Yamanaka’s absence from his squad due to his “decision to make himself unavailable”.

Yamanaka was unlikely to be included in the Brave Blossoms for the World Cup in New Zealand in September and October, the reports said.

Kirwan is due to produce on Friday a preliminary list of 50 members for his World Cup squad which will be reduced to a final 30 by August 22.

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