Agent: Carter and Rokocoko both had drug exemptions

Racing's Kiwi fly-half Dan Carter trying to get past Toulouse's English fly-half Toby Flood in their match last month. He and two team-mates failed a drug test after the previous Top 14 season's final but the two Kiwis are said to have been allowed t
Racing's Kiwi fly-half Dan Carter trying to get past Toulouse's English fly-half Toby Flood in their match last month. He and two team-mates failed a drug test after the previous Top 14 season's final but the two Kiwis are said to have been allowed to use cortisone to treat injuries.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WELLINGTON • All Blacks legend Dan Carter's agent yesterday rejected any implication that his client was a drug cheat, after a French report said that he tested positive for steroids along with Joe Rokocoko.

Paris-based sports daily L'Equipe reported on Thursday that the former New Zealand rugby union internationals failed a drug test after their club Racing 92 beat Toulon in the French Top 14 final in Barcelona in June.

Their Argentinian team-mate Juan Imhoff was also caught in the operation carried out by French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD), according to the paper.

Carter, 34, widely regarded as the best fly-half ever, earned 112 caps and won two World Cups with the All Blacks, racking up a record 1,598 Test points. He is idolised in New Zealand on a level comparable with footballer David Beckham in Britain or basketballer Michael Jordan in America.

The player's management company, Essentially Group, which also represents Rokocoko, 33, said they were "relaxed" about the situation because Racing's club doctor had filled in all the required documents.

Simon Porter, an Auckland-based player agent with the group, said this meant that they had a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) allowing them to use the corticosteroid medication.

"We were reassured that there was nothing to worry about, that there was no wrongdoing, that there was no case to answer for," he told TVNZ. "It's just a therapeutic use, cortisone is a common drug used to treat pain and inflammation."

Carter was recovering from a calf injury ahead of the Top 14 final, while Rokocoko - a winger who represented New Zealand in 68 Tests - had a knee problem.

Corticosteroids are generally used to reduce inflammation.

L'Equipe said that once alerted by the AFLD, the French Rugby Federation had 40 days to investigate the trio, who all played major roles in Racing's upset win over Toulon.

If the probe failed to find a medical reason for the corticosteroid use, then the trio could face disciplinary action. The federation has not yet commented on the report.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 08, 2016, with the headline 'Agent: Carter and Rokocoko both had drug exemptions'. Print Edition | Subscribe