The prop failed a test after Munster's Champions Cup game against Racing in November

James Cronin given one-month doping ban after pharmacy mix-up

A bizarre mix-up has led to Munster prop James Cronin being handed a one-month ban for an unintentional anti-doping violation.

The three-cap Ireland loosehead failed a test in the wake of Munster’s European Champions Cup game against Racing in November, with banned substances prednisolone and prednisone showing up in his system.

However, it has since been found that the breach was due to a “dispensing error” at the pharmacy.

Following an investigation by European Professional Club Rugby, independent judicial officer Antony Davies put out a statement clarifying: “Prior to the match against Racing 92, Cronin had been unwell and had been prescribed antibiotics, however, the pharmacy dispensed medication to him which was intended for another customer.


“The judicial officer accepted evidence that the banned substances in the player’s sample were due to a dispensing error by the pharmacy and that the anti-doping violation was entirely unintentional.

“Although the judicial officer found that there was no significant fault on behalf of the player, and that there were clear and compelling mitigating factors, he determined that the player had to bear some responsibility for what was in his sample.

“It was therefore decided that Cronin will be ineligible for a one-month period from 15 April 2020 until 16 May 2020.”

The prop failed a test after Munster's Champions Cup game against Racing in November

Hard running: Cronin in action earlier in the season (Getty Images)

We do not yet know when the rugby season will resume or when the next potential competitive match will take place.

As is standard procedure, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will review the written judgment before choosing to file an appeal or not.

In response to the news, Munster CEO Ian Flanagan said: “This has been an extremely challenging time for James and the province, and we are glad it has reached its conclusion.  We have treated this matter with the utmost seriousness, and as always Munster Rugby and Irish Rugby are fully supportive of all Sporting Ireland, WADA and World Rugby anti-doping policies.

“In protecting the integrity of our player, the organisation, and the sport, I can assure you that this unintentional anti-doping rule violation is as a result of exceptional circumstances due to a third-party dispensing error by a pharmacy. Clearly the sanction is reflective of the strong mitigating factors in this case, and we look forward to James’ return to action.”

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