Munster's James Cronin gets one-month ban for 'unintentional anti-doping violation'
'This has been an extremely challenging time for James and the province'.
Munster and Ireland prop James Cronin has been banned from rugby for one month following an anti-doping violation that an independent judicial officer has described as "unintentional".
Cronin tested positive for banned substances prednisolone and prednisone without a medical exemption following Munster's Champions Cup match against Racing on November 23, earlier this season.
The European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) has established, it says, that the positive test was due to a mix up in prescriptions. Cronin's violation was put down to a dispensing error by the pharmacy that he used. Independent judicial officer, Antony Davies accepted that evidence when it was put forward.
However, the EPCR still felt some sort of ban was merited as Cronin had been found with the substances in his system. He is ineligible to play from April 15 to May 16 but there is unlikely to be any rugby between those dates as the season is on pause due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Munster and the IRFU released a joint statement this afternoon stating they had carried out their own internal review on the matter. The findings, they state, conclude that the sanction imposed by EPCR is sufficient in this case due to the strong mitigating circumstances. Munster Rugby chief executive Ian Flanagan commented:
"This has been an extremely challenging time for James and the province, and we are glad it has reached its conclusion. We have treated this matter with the utmost seriousness, and as always Munster Rugby and Irish Rugby are fully supportive of all Sporting Ireland, WADA and World Rugby anti-doping policies.
"In protecting the integrity of our player, the organisation, and the sport, I can assure you that this unintentional anti-doping rule violation is as a result of exceptional circumstances due to a third-party dispensing error by a pharmacy. Clearly the sanction is reflective of the strong mitigating factors in this case, and we look forward to James’ return to action."
The 29-year-old prop has 124 appearances for Munster and has three Test caps with Ireland.
The full findings of the James Cronin case can be found here.