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French U20 star Oscar Jegou banned for one month for cocaine use

BY Philip Bendon  ·  Thursday Nov 23, 2023

In a recent development, French rugby U20 sensation Oscar Jegou, a prominent figure in La Rochelle’s back row, has been handed a one-month ban by the French anti-doping agency (AFLD) after testing positive for cocaine in August.

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The suspension was officially confirmed on Tuesday night, shedding light on an incident that occurred after Jegou’s team’s opening game of the Top 14 season.

Despite the potential for a four-year suspension, the AFLD deemed Jegou’s cocaine use as ‘recreational,’ leading to the one-month ban.

The alleged incident unfolded during a housewarming party just two days before the match, marking a setback for the 20-year-old player, who recently celebrated victory in the U20s World Cup with France.

L’Equipe reported that the governing body initially imposed a three-month sanction, subsequently reducing it to one month after Jegou voluntarily engaged in a treatment and awareness program.

Mathieu Giudicelli, the general director of the players’ union, acknowledged Jegou’s awareness of the mistake and the impact of the situation on the young athlete.

“He [Jegou] is very affected by the situation, he is well aware that he made a mistake, he knows it,” stated Giudicelli in an interview with Le Parisien.

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The player’s proactive approach towards addressing the issue and participating in a rehabilitation program played a pivotal role in the reduction of his suspension.

This incident follows closely on the heels of former Wales scrum-half Rhys Webb’s provisional suspension due to a positive drugs test for a growth hormone. Webb, contesting the charge, finds himself sidelined from playing until the conclusion of the case, underlining the increasing scrutiny on anti-doping measures within the rugby community.

Jegou’s one-month ban serves as a reminder of the strict consequences athletes face for violating anti-doping policies, even in cases deemed ‘recreational.’

The incident highlights the importance of player education and rehabilitation programs in addressing such issues within the realm of professional sports.

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