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League duo test positive for cannabis

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 17/02/2017

Two rugby league players from opposing teams in the same game have been banned for six months by the Sports Tribunal after testing positive for cannabis.

Travell Ngatoko, who plays for the Taranaki Sharks, and Stacey Mikara of the Southland Rams were selected for doping control following a New Zealand Rugby League national championship game in September last year.

Ngatoko's period of suspension ends on May 2, while Mikara's will end on July 17.

Drug Free Sport NZ chief executive Graeme Steel says the two cases are yet another reminder to athletes that cannabis and other recreational drugs are prohibited in sporting competition.

"It's important for athletes from all codes and at all levels to recognise that social drugs and competitive sport do not mix," he said.

The threshold for reporting cannabis was raised in 2012, and the two cases are the first to be heard since then.

"The two cases highlight the fact that athletes can be tested at any time and there are severe consequences if they break the rules," Steel said.

The suspensions mean both players will be unable to participate fully in the coming season.

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