Paul O'Connell's new club implicated in doping scandal 5 years ago

Paul O'Connell's new club implicated in doping scandal

One hopes, for the sake of European rugby, that these allegations prove to be wide of the mark.

An investigation has been launched by the French Agency for fight against doping (AFLD) following two years of background work into the activities of reigning European Cup champions Toulon. However, toulon president Mourad Boudjellal has strongly refuted the implications.

French broadcasters RTL report that a prosecutor based in Marseilles opened an investigation in late May on suspicion of doping in the RC Toulon club.

The prosecutor suspects a pharmacist in the city of illegally supplying Toulon players with products.

According to RTL, that would include antibiotics, analgesics, but also anabolic steroids. 

During a search of the pharmacy, gendarmes (police) reportedly found identity cards for several of the Toulon squad. 

As of yet, no players' names have been released.

Paul O'Connell will join up with the French side following the World Cup. The Ireland captain is set to play with the French side on a two-year contract.

It remains to be seen whether the investigation will shut the move down.

Toulon lift the Champions Cup Trophy 2/5/2015

Toulon won their first European Cup in 2013 and have since claimed two other titles [now the Champions Cup] and a Top 14 league win.

They defeated Leinster in last season's Champions Cup semi-final before seeing off Clermont in the final.

On Sunday, Toulouse prop Chilliboy Ralapelle was banned for two years after being found to have taken steroids.

Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal has given a brief statement to Le Monde ahead of a press briefing at 11am [Irish time].

'I have no worries at all, it’s totally untrue,' he said.

Boudjellal also told La Provence, 'No (Toulon) player is concerned in this affair, it’s totally unfounded information. This is related to a social security fraud; that concerns the pharmacist, not Toulon.

'I have a strong feeling that there is a will against Toulon and a person who is running for president of the FFR [French Rugby Union].'

Updated at 10:50 [first posted at 8:12am]