Gerbrandt Grobler's return to fitness catapulted the topic of drugs in Irish rugby back into conversations and columns over the last fortnight.
The South African was signed by Munster during the summer. At the time, though it was known, little was said about the two-year ban which second row had served for taking anabolic steroid Drostanolone while playing in South Africa.
Grobler was prevented from making his competitive Munster debut due to an ankle injury sustained during a pre-season game against Worcester. He recently turned out for the Munster 'A' side, giving opportunity to question why he was signed by Munster.
During the week, Ireland international Chris Henry called the signing of Grobler "unacceptable", suggesting that it will have a negative impact on home-grown players. Henry voicing concerns led highlighting of a ban served by one of Henry's former Ulster teammates, Carlo Del Fava. The Italian international was banned for two years in after testing positive for stanozolol in 2002.
In his column for the Sunday Independent, Neil Francis voiced his belief that Grobler and Del Fava are far from the only individuals to have played for the Irish provinces who have tested positive for PEDs.
It is my firmly held belief that there have been upwards of 20 players who have taken anabolic steroids or some form of PED who have played for the Irish provinces in the last 30 years - a lot of those indigenous players. Of the players who were caught the vast majority pleaded 'cough bottle', a nod, a wink, one harrumph and they walked out the side door.
Francis goes on to tell of someone he calls 'Player X' who tested positive for Nandrolone after playing for Ulster in a late 90s Heineken Cup game. He says that the player had his Ulster contract cancelled. Though, he was not sanctioned and played out the remainder of his rugby career for his club.