English rugby player fails 2 drugs tests, gets 6-month ban

MANCHESTER, England — A 21-year-old academy player from English top-flight rugby team Sale Sharks has been banned for six months after failing two drugs tests.

England's Rugby Football Union says it is the first time that a player has breached its illicit drugs policy on two occasions.

Jake Pope, who is not a member of Sale's senior squad, tested positive for cocaine on Sept. 12, 2017. He was fined 1,000 pounds ($1,300).

On Nov. 20, 2018, Pope tested positive for cannabis and cocaine. He was again fined 1,000 pounds and received a six-month suspension, which started Dec. 4. He is free to play on June 4.

Sale said it has "intervened to ensure Jake had the support pathway he required to address the matter and avoid any further issues arising in the future."

The northwest club said Pope's behavior was "unacceptable" but "feel it is right that, as a young man who has made mistakes, Jake be given a fair chance to redeem himself."

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