RUGBY LEAGUE star Rangi Chase has been banned from the sport for two years after testing positive for cocaine.
The ex-England half-back, 31, failed a drugs test after Widnes’ match against Wakefield in July and will now be out until 2019.
Chase had been tipped to be slapped with a four-year ban, but his career could now be left in tatters.
UK Anti-Doping chief executive Nicole Sapstead slammed chase following the announcement of the ban.
Sapstead said: “As an experienced rugby league player who has represented both New Zealand Maori and England, as well as Super League clubs Castleford Tigers and Salford Red Devils, Rangi Chase has tarnished his career with this sanction.
“His two-year ban serves as a stark warning to athletes about the very real consequences of taking recreational drugs whilst competing in sport.”
UKAD announced the ban on Thursday morning after benzoylecgonine – a metabolite of cocaine – was found in a sample provided on July 14.
The ban will now run until July 13, 2019, having already been suspended by Widnes, pending the announcement.
Rugby league legend Garry Schofield believes Chase’s is not a unique case, suggesting cocaine use in the sport is widespread.
Earlier this year, after Adam Walker tested positive in the very same game as Chase, Schofield said: “The game is rife with cocaine.
“I know of players, including some very high profile ones, who’ve taken it and anyone who says it’s not a problem in rugby league is telling lies.
“It’s a big social problem, it’s not just in rugby league, lots of sportsmen have taken it – but it’s a massive problem in our sport.
“And anyone caught taking it should be banned for life, there’s no excuses. They know exactly what they are doing.”