A former Lincoln rugby captain has been banned from playing after he was caught taking drugs.
Leigh Dearden, who previously played as captain and second row for Lincoln RFC, failed a routine drug test before a game on March 23, 2019.
He provided a urine sample that tested positive for steroids and cocaine before he was banned from playing for four years.
When challenged by Rugby Football Union, Leigh claimed he had taken medication from “an associate outside of rugby” which he assumed to be “painkillers of some variation.”
In an email to the sport’s governing body, he said: “I would like to apologise for the inconvenience I have caused to those involved.
“I was horrified when I received your call informing me that I had failed a drug test.
“My only concern now is that I don’t do detriment to my club or undo any of the good work and progress we have made.”
Leigh did not attend the RFU Anti-Doping hearing on August 8, which took place in his absence.
RFU Anti-Doping and Illicit Drugs programme manager Stephen Watkins said: “All rugby players are subject to the anti-doping rules which are in place to protect players and the integrity of our sport.”
A spokesperson for Lincoln Rugby Club said: “Lincoln Rugby Club are thoroughly disappointed in the behaviour of this former player.
“We do not condone substance abuse and have a zero tolerance policy towards drug taking.”