Qauqau-Dodds banned two years for possessing steroid

Ben Qauqau-Dodds.
Ben Qauqau-Dodds.
Alhambra-Union winger Ben Qauqau-Dodds' suspension for anti-doping violations has shocked club stalwarts.

The 26-year-old, who has played about 80 premier games for the club, was yesterday banned for two years by the judicial committee of New Zealand Rugby after admitting anti-doping violations.

Former All Blacks sevens player Glen Robertson, former Black Fern Zoey Berry and Palmerston North club rugby player Rhys Pedersen have also been suspended for doping offences.

Qauqau-Dodds is the fourth person from Otago to be banned following Medsafe's investigation of an online steroid supplier.

Last month, Queenstown ice hockey-playing brothers Lachlan and Mitchell Frear were banned for two years for attempting to buy clenbuterol, and former Carisbrook-Dunedin club cricketer Chris Ware was also banned for two years for purchasing the substance.

Qauqau-Dodds admitted being in possession of Metandienone and using or attempting to use a prohibited substance. The ban has been backdated to July 31, 2017.

Qauqau-Dodds declined a request for an interview but club captain Hugh Tait said the player, who now lives in Christchurch and works as a teacher, just wants to put it behind him.

``Anyone who knows Ben and his family will be pretty struck by what has played out here,'' Tait said.

``But he made that decision ... and he has to pay the price.''

Club chairman Gary Wheeler was surprised as well.

``I think we are all disappointed, really. It was certainly out of character for Ben,'' Wheeler said.

Qauqau-Dodds, who has represented Otago at age group level, ordered a product called Dianabol, which contains the prohibited Metandienone, from the New Zealand Clenbuterol website (known then as NZ Gear) in early May, 2014. He placed a further order in July that year but told the judiciary he threw the product away.

His explanation for purchasing and using the substance was he was curious and naive.

He never thought for a moment he could get into trouble with the New Zealand Rugby Union. He had hoped to add muscle mass but now realised he made a big mistake.

Robertson made four appearances for Waikato and was a member of the New Zealand under-20 squad in 2010 and 2011 as well as a member of the All Blacks Sevens side in 2011-12.

Berry played one test for the Black Ferns in 2012 during a tour of England.

Pedersen played club rugby in Palmerston North and age group rugby for Manawatu.

Berry, Pedersen, and Robertson have been banned from playing rugby for the possession of and, in some cases, use or attempted use of Clenbuterol.

Berry received a four-year ban commencing on July 31, 2017. Pedersen got 21 months from January 1, 2017, and Robertson four years from February 3, 2017.

The four are the first rugby players to be banned following revelations in the Weekend Herald that more than 100 athletes registered with national sporting organisations had been caught illegally purchasing steroids from the website clenbuterol.co.nz.

The website's owner, Joshua Francis Townshend, was jailed for two years after a Medsafe investigation.

- Additional reporting by The New Zealand Herald

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