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Munster confirm they've reviewed protocols after Cronin's one-month ban

‘It literally could happen to the man in the street where a wrong prescription is dispensed.’

MUNSTER RUGBY CEO Ian Flanagan says the province have reviewed their anti-doping education protocols in the wake of James Cronin’s one-month ban after testing positive for banned substances.

Flanagan shared his belief that Cronin was “incredibly unfortunate” and stressed that the player “has lived through a huge amount of stress and worry.”

Ireland international prop Cronin served his suspension from 15 April until 16 May while rugby was on hold during the lockdown, meaning he didn’t miss any Munster games.

The 29-year-old tested positive for the banned substances prednisolone and prednisone after Munster’s Champions Cup clash with Racing 92 last November but an independent judicial officer ruled that the failed test was “entirely unintentional” and due to a “dispensing error by the pharmacy.”

munsters-james-cronin-after-the-match Cronin served a one-month ban from 15 April until 16 May. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Sport Ireland indicated its belief that the one-month sanction was lenient but eventually opted against appealing it. The organisation did, however, seek a meeting with the IRFU and Munster Rugby in order to “establish if there is any other action required – whether that’s increasing education or whatever improvements that could be made on the basis of this case.”

Speaking on the province’s official podcast, The Crooked Feed, Flanagan confirmed that a review of Munster’s “anti-doping education and protocols” has now taken place.

“We take doping and any issues associated with doping incredibly seriously, as does all of Irish rugby,” said Flanagan, who joined the province last September.

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“I’ll also say I have a huge amount of sympathy for James in this. I think he’s been incredibly unfortunate. I personally, and several other of my colleagues, have spent a huge amount of time and hours going through all of this and being part of the process.

“It was the first time I’ve been intimately involved in a case like this and I have been incredibly impressed by the thoroughness of the process. We want our sport to be clean, it’s vital to rugby. It’s what we’re all about in terms of rugby’s core values, that’s it’s a clean and fair sport. That’s the message we want to go out to our supporters, our clubs, and our younger players coming into the academy.

“On the back of that, yes, we have reviewed our processes because you can always do better and certainly that was my first question – is there something we missed out on there?

“I’m confident that having looked at this in great detail, this was just a very unfortunate third-party dispensing error. It literally could happen to the man in the street where a wrong prescription is dispensed.

“Clearly, the one-month sanction reflects the fact that there was no significant fault or blame attached to James and we’ve made it clear that we’re looking forward to seeing James come back and playing for Munster again.

“He has lived through a huge amount of stress and worry because no one knows how a process and an investigation and sanction is going to work out.”

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Murray Kinsella

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