Elton Jantjies, on the cusp of selection for the Springboks' World Cup team earlier this month, has tested positive for the prohibited substance Clenbuterol and now faces potential suspension.
Clenbuterol, a substance favoured by bodybuilders for its fat-burning prowess, also offers relief for asthma sufferers. As a bronchodilator, it widens the airways, gifting athletes with a boost in stamina.
According to Jantjies' statement, as published by as revealed by the SuperSport website, he was told of the positive test from a urine sample he had furnished to the SA Institute of Drug Free Sport during the month of June.
"It with no small amount of shock and sadness that I have to inform you that I received notification earlier this month, from the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport, that a urine sample that I had provided to them in June 2023, returned a positive test for a banned substance, Clenbuterol," his statement reads.
"I have instructed legal representation to assist me in determining the source of the prohibited substance and I have instructed them to ask for my B Sample to be tested and to launch an inquiry into the possible causes for the positive test."
Jantjies' wife, Iva Ristic, told News24 they were both "shocked" to hear that he tested positive for Clenbuterol when landing back in the country in June.
Jantjis had been in Turkey for two months with his family before returning to Johannesburg, she said.
"He wasn't doing any steroids in Turkey. He has hectic Sinusitis and was using a spray to release the tension he was feeling in the nose. Only after the news came out this week did we discover that the Clenbuterol found his drug test was the same substance in the nasal spray he had used when he landed," said Ristic.
- Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies tests positive for banned substance
- Boks bask in glow of City of Light
Ristic said they are trying to stay strong while plans are in motion to prove that Jantjies did not take the substance deliberately.
Jantjies refuted any intention of knowingly consuming the prohibited substance, and he expressed a resolute determination to wage a battle in defense of his innocence.
With unwavering resolve, the 33-year-old pledged to embark on a journey to assert his truth and stand against the allegations.
"At this stage I can say little more about the matter, save that I assure all my supporters that I have not and never will deliberately take a banned substance, and that I will do everything in my power to prove my innocence," he continued in the statement.
“This is another set-back in what has been a very volatile time for me, but I shall overcome this with the support of my family and friends. I know that there will be those out there who doubt my innocence, but I hope to prove you wrong, in due course. For those who support me, thank you.”
Last season, Jantjies found himself sidelined from the Springbok group due to off-field incidents. His journey took an unexpected turn when he joined the French second division club, Pau.
A surprising twist came earlier this year as he was chosen as injury cover for Handre Pollard when the Springbok training group was unveiled.
Despite this opportunity, the Springbok jersey eluded him. Ultimately, as the final World Cup group was unveiled, he was released from the squad.
Jantjies' statement is timely after the Springboks trounced the All Blacks in a record 35-7 victory on Friday evening at Twickenham in their final warm up game before the World Cup commences next month in France.
The Springboks kick-start their World Cup defence against Scotland on Sunday, 10 September.