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Dublin: 19°C Sunday 13 June 2021

Toulon sign NRL star who is currently sidelined from rugby league over failed drugs test

Ben Barba could make his debut for the club against Lyon on 18 February.

FRENCH GIANTS TOULON have signed one of the NRL’s biggest stars until the end of the season while the player is sidelined from rugby league over a failed drugs test.

The 27-year-old has joined Toulon for the rest of the Top 14 season and is expected to arrive in Europe next week.

Ben Barba is one of the most exciting players in the Australian competition and helped the Cronulla Sharks to their first NRL crown last season, four years after winning the league’s player of the year award, the Dally M Medal, while playing for the Canterbury Bulldogs.

However, the diminutive back failed a drugs test after Cronulla’s Premiership win last year, testing positive for cocaine.

Barba was then sacked by Cronulla last November and subsequently banned from rugby league for 12 games.

Two weeks ago, Cronulla announced that they had re-signed Barba for the coming season, with the expectation that he would be available once his ban elapsed, but the club had yet to get the contract ratified by the NRL.

However, it has now emerged that Barba will switch codes for the next four months before making a likely return to the NRL in May, when his ban expires and the regular-season rounds of the Top 14 finish.

Toulon have said that the Australian could make his club debut in the Top 14 clash against Lyon on 18 February.

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Source: JJ MONTAGES/YouTube

Barba will increase Toulon’s already impressive cohort of Australians which includes James O’Connor, Drew Mitchell and Matt Giteau, the latter who announced yesterday that he will be leaving the club at the end of the season, with Japan believed to be his most likely next destination.

The three-time European champions are currently fifth in the Top 14 and have been drawn against Clermont Auvergne in the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup.

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Alan Waldron

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