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RFL clears the way for Chambers

29 March 2008

The Rugby Football League says there is nothing to prevent disgraced sprinter Dwain Chambers launching a new career in rugby league with Castleford.

The 29-year-old, who recently won a silver medal at the World Indoor Championships, has served a two-year ban for using designer steroid THG.

"Our rules would not prevent him playing," said an RFL spokesman.

"Our sport offers people an opportunity to come back once they have served the appropriate suspension."

Chambers, who is not thought to have any previous rugby experience, has been offered a trial by Super League's bottom side, who have the competition's smallest squad.

During his exile from athletics, Chambers had try-outs for American football, which showed promise but were brought to an end when he suffered a fractured foot.

He owes the athletics authorities ?100,000 in prize money which he won when he was taking drugs.

Abi Ekoku is a former athlete who switched to rugby league in the 1990s, going on to play for Bradford in the 1997 Challenge Cup final.

He said that Chambers's age would not count against him - he is a week short of his 30th birthday - but he had to be prepared to deal with the physical contact if he wanted to make a success of himself in rugby league.

"I don't think age is an obstacle but, if you have never come into contact, overcoming the psychological barrier, the fear factor, that's the biggest challenge," he said.

"If it is a serious push to play the game, I wish him well. Anyone brave enough to make that decision deserves credit.

"I am still bemused as to the benefits for Castleford. Really no Super League coach is going to throw a player in fresh. He needs to play some under-21s and go through the proper development process, ideally in the off-season.

"At the same time he is an elite performer and, if it is a genuine attempt to step into a new sport and try and achieve the heights, I wish him all the best and will support him wholeheartedly."

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