herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

New signing Paul O'Connell wants answers from Toulon over doping allegations

Ireland captain Paul O’Connell arrives for the captain’s run at Twickenham
Ireland captain Paul O’Connell arrives for the captain’s run at Twickenham

Paul O'Connell took time after Ireland training to confirm he would contact Toulon to find answers to the allegations of doping against the French club.

"I'd be hopeful there's a sensible explanation for it and I'll try to find that out," he reacted.

Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal has angrily denied the allegations against the triple European champions.

Marseille prosecutors have launched an investigation into several pharmacies in Toulon after notification from France's anti-doping authority Agence Francaise de Lutte contre le Dopage (AFDL).

Reports in France alleged Toulon players had been supplied with anabolic steroids but Boudjellal moved quickly to deny those claims.

The billionaire comic book magnate insists the investigation is solely centred around social security fraud and one pharmacist, not Toulon.

"No player is concerned in this affair, it's totally unfounded information," Boudjellal told reporters.

"This is related to a social security fraud; that concerns the pharmacist not RCT."

Toulon have swept to an unprecedented three straight European titles, with England World Cup winner Jonny Wilkinson integral in the first two before retiring.

Former France coach Bernard Laporte has played his part in Toulon's rich success and remains head coach for another season before departing to chase the presidency of the French rugby union.

Boudjellal hinted at internal politics amid Laporte's future ambitions as playing a role in the investigations. "I have a feeling there is a will against Toulon and a person who is running for president of the FFR," he said.

Italy talisman Sergio Parisse faces a World Cup fitness fight after having fluid drained from his left leg.

The Stade Francais No 8 had an operation in Paris on Monday after Saturday's 23-19 defeat to Wales in Cardiff.

EUROPEAN RUGBY

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