Catalans Dragons have been dealt a major blow on the eve of their Qualifiers campaign after it was revealed that fullback Tony Gigot’s two-year ban has been reinstated.
Gigot was hit with the ban in January of this year following an “inappropriate exchange” with an anti-doping official – however, that suspension was initially reduced to just three months, with the remaining 21 suspended.
Gigot returned in April and has proven to be a telling influence for the Dragons at fullback – and was seen as a major part of Steve McNamara’s plans to escape the Qualifiers and preserve the club’s Super League status.
However, French Anti-Doping authorities are understood to have been successful in an appeal to have the ban reinstated – meaning that with immediate effect, Gigot is suspended once again and his season is over.
Catalans have the right to an appeal and it is understood they are considering their options.
It leaves McNamara without his first-choice fullback for Saturday’s game against London in Perpignan. Brayden Wiliame and Lewis Tierney are likely to be the frontrunners to replace him.
Catalans Dragons Chairman Bernard Guasch said in a statement: “The club is shocked by this decision. Tony Gigot underwent three anti-doping tests in six months and all of them were negative. The club will continue to support and protect Tony in this tough period. Our lawyer is studying the possibility of appealing this decision.”