Pedrie Wannenburg can consider himself lucky that he was not banned from rugby, the South African Institute for Drug Free Sport said on Monday.
Cobus Claassen – Beeld
This follows after Wannenburg, a Bulls and Springbok rugby player, revealed in the magazine Finesse that he had abused cocaine, ecstasy and alcohol.
Chris Hattingh, a pharmacist and board member of the South African Institute for Drug Free Sport, said on Monday that if there was sufficient evidence for Wannenburg’s abuse and it was swept under the carpet, it “is a scandal for South African rugby”.
The Blue Bulls Company (BBM) said in a statement on Monday that “similar rumours” about Wannenburg had reached them in the 2008 season.
BBM chief executive Barend van Graan said that it was immediately discussed with Wannenburg and handled internally.
Van Graan did not want to elaborate on how the internal process was conducted and whether Wannenburg had made the same confession as he did in the interview.
“We view the matter as closed and won’t comment further.”
According to the statement, it is the BBM’s policy to regularly test players for banned substances and Wannenburg has “always tested negative”.
Beeld asked Van Graan whether Wannenburg had told the BBM in 2008 that he had used drugs, but he stood by his “no comment”.
Wannenburg said in an interview that a video was made in a night club in which he used drugs. It was sent to the BBRU and apparently led to a warning by Bulls coach Frans Ludeke.
The player did not attend Monday’s Bulls training session.
Hattingh said that Wannenburg’s revelations held serious implications.
“Had he brought it out earlier and there was sufficient evidence, one has to ask the question as to why the appropriate steps were not taken. We view it in a serious light,” said Hattingh.
English prop Matt Stevens, who was born in England, was last year suspended from all rugby for two years after testing positive for a banned substance.
Stevens admitted that, like Wannenburg, he had used cocaine.
SA Rugby said on Monday that it was not considering a suspension for Wannenburg.
SARU chief executive Johan Prinsloo said Wannenburg had taken the “critical first step to admit to the problem” and believes he will overcome it with the help of the BBM.
“Rugby and sport has no place for those who use drugs and we condemn it in the strongest terms, but we would be naïve to try and pretend that players are not sometimes sucked in by a dangerous lifestyle,” he said.