Strange twist in Elton Jantjies doping saga could hand former Bok reprieve

Strange twist in Elton Jantjies doping saga could hand former Bok reprieve

Former Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies could still return to professional rugby despite his four-year doping ban.

The 33-year-old was slapped with the ban by the SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) in August last year after testing positive for Clenbuterol, a drug that many bodybuilders use to cut weight and increase muscle mass.

He was given until January of this year to exercise his right to have his case heard before an Independent Doping Hearing Panel (IDHP), which he never did.

But in a fresh twist, the World Anti-Doping Agency has suspended the accreditation of the South African Doping Control Laboratory in Bloemfontein that produced the results that led to Jantjies' ban.

According to a report by Rugby Pass, Jantjies' former club, the Lions, are lining up a swoop for the playmaker if he is able to return to rugby.

Jantjies started his career with the Lions back in 2011 before going on loan to the Stormers when the Johannesburg-based outfit were relegated from Super Rugby in 2013.

He returned to the Lions and went on to make over 100 appearances for the side, reaching two Super Rugby finals.

The ban will end his career if it is upheld, but if not, the Lions are eager to secure his return to the red jersey, particularly with Jordan Hendrikse joining the Sharks next season. The report adds that the Lions were keen on bringing Jantjies back before his ban.

It's been a whirlwind period for Jantjies, who won the World Cup with the Springboks in 2019 and was part of the 2021 squad that defeated the British and Irish Lions.

In mid-2022, he allegedly damaged property on an Emirates flight and was arrested and charged with malicious damage to property and a contravention of the Aviation Act.

This was followed by him being sent home from the Bok camp during their trip to Argentina during the Rugby Championship after an alleged affair with team dietician Zeenat Simjee made headlines.

He was recalled to the Springbok squad as injury cover during the Rugby Championship last year but did not add to his 46 Test caps.

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