Ralepelle: 'I refuse to be the fall-guy for a corrupt system'

Former Sharks and Springbok hooker Chilliboy Ralepelle has vowed to take on the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport in his appeal against his 8-year ban.

FILE: Chiliboy Ralepelle (C) in training in London in November 2008. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Chiliboy Ralepelle has denied taking the anabolic agent Zeranol after testing positive for the substance in January 2019. The hooker believes there has been an effort to discredit him and portray him as a repeat offender.

Ralepelle’s legal team said that they would argue that “there were inaccuracies in SAIDS's (South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport) findings” and challenge “procedural failures by the sporting body”.

In a statement released on Friday, Ralepelle said: “The last few months have been an absolute nightmare for my family and me, but I refuse to be the fall-guy for a corrupt system, one utterly determined to destroy lives and livelihoods of athletes of colour.”

This will be the former Springbok’s second time challenging drug-use accusations. In 2010, Ralepelle and fellow Bok at the time, Bjorn Basson, both returned positive samples following an end-of-year Test against Ireland.

However, the positive result was ruled a “no fault” after the coaching staff admitted to providing the supplement to the entire squad during the tour. SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux apologised to both Ralepelle and Basson following the incident.

Ralepelle added his voice to the Black Lives Matter movement last week and, now heading into his appeal, believes SAIDS is not exempt from the BLM conversations.

“I have dedicated my life to this sport, and should this be the end, then so be it, but if they expect me to just go off quietly into the night, then they have another thing coming.

"I won't stop until my name is cleared. I do believe that we, as black rugby players, are held to a different standard. Racial inequalities continue to persist in the sport, and I, for one, will continue to fight, so that future generations of the sport don't have to,” he said.