Rugby: Irish international James Cronin handed one-month band for 'unintentional' doping violation

Munster and Ireland prop James Cronin has been handed a one-month ban for "an unintentional anti-doping violation".

Cronin tested positive for the steroid prednisolone and corticosteroid prednisone, which are on the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) prohibited list, after an in-competition test in November last year.

The 29-year-old was deemed to have committed no significant fault and co-operated with the investigation, but the judicial officer ruled that he still bore some responsibility for what was in his sample.

"Prior to the match, Cronin had been unwell and had been prescribed antibiotics," European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) said on Monday. "However, the pharmacy dispensed medication to him, which was intended for another customer. 

"The judicial officer accepted evidence that the banned substances in the player's sample were due to a dispensing error by the pharmacy and that the anti-doping violation was entirely unintentional."

Accordingly, Cronin will be ineligible to play between April 15 and May 16. World Rugby, Sport Ireland and WADA have the right to appeal the decision.

This seems to be a nominal punishment, as the Pro14 was last month indefinitely suspended because of coronavirus.

"These past few months have been very trying for myself and my family, and I am glad that this issue has been resolved, so that I can focus fully on rugby when it resumes," Cronin said on the Irish Rugby Football Union's website.

"I accept that this is a strict liability offence, and that even though the medication taken was due to a very serious and unexpected dispensing error, it has taught me a very valuable lesson that I hope my fellow players and any other athletes can also learn from.

"I am confident that my friends, fellow players, the rugby media and rugby public will understand that I never acted with any intent, nor in any manner to intentionally compromise the EPCR tournament.