Ralepelle insists he's being targeted: 'In your own mind who can dope three times knowing the consequences?
Former Springboks hooker Mahlatse ‘Chiliboy’ Ralepelle says there are forces in rugby that are hellbent on destroying him.
Ralepelle was handed a heavy and long eight-year doping ban by the SA Institute for Drug Free Sport (Saids) on Wednesday after testing positive for the banned anabolic agent‚ Zeranol‚ during an out-of-competition test on 17 January 2019.
He told TimesLIVE on Thursday that he is weighing his options on whether to appeal the doping ban.
The 33-year-old said since he was a highly promising youngster at the Bulls‚ he has always had strong feelings that he didn’t belong in rugby.
“For me‚ since stepping on the Loftus ground as a youngster‚ I have always smelled a rat‚” he told TimesLIVE.
“I have always felt like I am at a place where I don’t belong. Whether there is a conspiracy‚ I am the sacrificial lamb or whatever‚ what I know is that I am being targeted.
"Of course there is a definite hit on me to ensure that I am eradicated out of the system. Unfortunately I can’t say why people are after me. In your own mind who can dope three times knowing the consequences and what is at stake? This is my life‚ the system must be there to protect the players but it doesn’t do that because there is no justice.”
Ralepelle said the Doping Control Officer (DCO) who tested him was unprofessional and lied under oath during the hearings.
“There is the issue that the DCO lied about my partial sample which I passed and he said I did not pass it‚" he said.
"His responsibility after I passed my partial sample was to inform me that we have to record and seal it so that it is not contaminated. That was one of the discrepancies that we picked up.
“The other discrepancy that we picked up was that a day before I got tested‚ he came out to test other players. I was sitting in the medical room and some players made a joke or they thought they were being funny by asking why is Chiliboy not been tested and he (DCO) said 'it is his lucky day today.'
"Then the following day on Thursday‚ he came back and my name was called and only found out at a later stage through the Sharks doctor that I was on the reserve list and not supposed to get tested on that day.
“They were adamant that I get tested and he again lied that he fetched me from the training field‚ but I was in the gym facility because I was doing my knee rehabilitation and I was not allowed to run.
"The other thing is that through the chain of command in the transportation of the samples‚ there was a 12-hour period where a sample was not seen or recorded. Those discrepancies‚ we asked about them but at the end of the day what Saids look at is the report from the laboratory.
"But if the sample has been contaminated‚ it’s going to come up positive because they have no control of the whole of command. They only have control of the documentation that is given to them to say it is positive or negative. We used this information during the hearings and DCO just lied about this process.”
Ralepelle said there were team-mates who could have testified in his defence but they decided to look away.
“It was bad timing for me because some of the players didn’t want to come up and testify‚ and I understand because they have to protect their own reputations and careers‚" he said.
"They are still young and they didn’t want to jeopardise their careers. I had team-mates who could have backed me up and they didn’t do it. But I have no grudge against anybody because if it was me as a young player coming‚ I could have done the same thing.
“The other thing is that the DCO who conducted the doping procedure kept some samples that he did the previous day overnight at his home.
"If you came to me to test today and I take your samples‚ the onus is on me to make sure that the samples gets to the lab as safe as possible on the same day and not to keep it at my home.
"If you take it home‚ I risk contamination because my home is not a lab. We raised that issue which was never answered to.”