Steffon Armitage tests positive for banned drug

Toulon’s England international flanker Steffon Armitage has tested positive for a product on the World Doping Agency’s banned list, albeit one which could be construed as having therapeutic qualities.

Rugbyrama, the sports website of French daily Midi Olympique, reported that Armitage is understood to have tested for Doliprane codeine – a simple painkiller, in this case for back pain.

The test came following Toulon June 9 Top 14 final loss to Toulouse at Stade de France.

The product can be taken with written medical authorisation as a therapeutic treatment but in Armitage’s case such authorisation was not forthcoming, according to the report, emanating from sources at Midi Olympique whose next edition appears Friday.

Armitage is provisionally suspended prior to an appearance before the French Rugby Federation’s anti-doping commission on August 21, the report added.

However, a statement released by Toulon stated that, “Steffon Armitage has absolutely not taken any illegal substances to improve performance but only a drug strictly authorized by the AFLD and well known to all.”

Armitage was said to be suffering from back pain and was administered anti-inflammatory as well as paracetamol codeine (2-4 tablets / day) and Toulon say that all medications are approved by the AFLD.

Toulon added that, “The presence of morphine in urine of Steffon Armitage is explained by the fact that 10% of this authorized drug (paracetamol codeine) naturally turns into morphine.”

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