In a year of sport that will likely be defined by such controversies, a breaking doping scandal rocked French rugby late on Thursday night.
L'Équipe are reporting that traces of steroids have been found in the urine of three players at French champions Racing 92. The samples were provided after Racing's Top 14 final victory over Toulon at Camp Nou at the end of last season.
The three players who have reportedly tested positive are former All Blacks Dan Carter and Joe Rokococo, along with Argentina outside back Juan Imhoff. The tests were carried out by the AFLD (French anti-doping) in Spain, thanks to a bilateral agreement between French and Spanish authorities.
Translated to English, the key paragraphs from L'Équipe's exclusive report read:
The first analytical results have detected abnormalities in the urine of three players of Racing. These traces of steroids are prohibited substances in competition without permission.
According to our information, these "anomalies" relate Dan Carter, Joe Rokocoko and Juan Imhoff. Three major players in this final that did not have a TUE which could have justified from a medical point of view the use of banned substances.
Carter's agent has since responded to the report:
Dan Carter’s Agent Has Given An Explanation For Alleged Positive Drug Test https://t.co/E820QqGGvf
— Balls.ie (@ballsdotie) October 7, 2016