Wales rugby star Rhys Webb banned for four years as career effectively ended

Webb has been banned from rugby for four years
-Credit: (Image: Ben Evans/Huw Evans Agency)


Former Wales scrum-half Rhys Webb has been banned from rugby for four years after testing positive for a growth hormone.

The 35-year-old, who signed for ProD2 side Biarritz after quitting Welsh rugby last year, was provisionally suspended by the club after testing positive for a synthetic growth hormone in an unexpected check by the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) last July.

Webb maintained his innocence as he was placed under investigation but has now been found guilty. As a result, he has been handed a four-year ban which has effectively ended his career in professional rugby.

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The former Ospreys and Toulon star was part of Warren Gatland's wider World Cup training squad last year, but announced his retirement from international rugby in May. Webb, who also toured with the British & Irish Lions in 2017, then opted to leave Welsh rugby for good and start a new life in France, joining Biarritz in the second division and scoring on his debut.

But the 40-cap international was suspended just days into the new season after returning a positive test and now won't be able to play again until 2027, taking into account the suspension time he has already served. He will be 38 by the time he is permitted to play again, while the ban also prohibits him from taking up coaching in that time.

A statement released by the AFLD on Wednesday revealed the extent of Webb's ban, explaining that he is not allowed "to participate, in any capacity whatsoever, in a competition authorized or organized by an organization that is a signatory to the World Anti-Doping Code or one of its members, by a professional league or an organization responsible for international or national events that are not signatories, by a sports federation, or giving rise to the award of prizes in cash or in kind.

“To participate in any activity, including training, training or exhibitions, authorized or organized by an organization that is a signatory to the World Anti-Doping Code or one of its members, by a professional league or an organization responsible for international or national events that are not a signatory, or by a sports federation, a professional league or one of their members, unless these activities are part of recognized education or rehabilitation programs related to the fight against doping."

It added that he was also prohibited from "exercising the functions of management staff or any administrative activity within a sports federation, a professional league, an organization that is a signatory to the World Anti-Doping Code or one of their members, as well as those of a sports educator defined in Article L. 212-1 of the Sports Code... and to take part in any sporting activity involving national or international level athletes and financed by a public person.”