Jake Pope banned after testing positive for cocaine and cannabis
Jake Pope has been banned for six months after taking cocaine and cannabis.
The rookie forward, 21, was also fined £1,000 after failing his second drugs test in just over a year.
Having made just six appearances for the Premiership club Pope has been handed a lifeline by Sharks boss Steve Diamond, who has vowed to stick by him.
In a statement released by the club, they said: “As soon as Sale Sharks were made aware of Jake’s failed tests, the club intervened to ensure Jake had the support pathway he required to address the matter and avoid any further issues arising in the future.
“As a role model to young players across the North-West, this behaviour is unacceptable.
“The club does not condone the misuse of drugs from any player and accept the decision made by the RFU.
“However, Sale Sharks prides itself on being able to offer a career pathway into rugby for people of all backgrounds and circumstances and for this reason we feel it is right that, as a young man who has made mistakes, Jake be given a fair chance to redeem himself.”
News of Pope’s failed tests come just days after Sale centre Mark Jennings was arrested for assaulting a police officer and telling another he was going rape her after a booze-fuelled binge.
Pope is banned until June 4 – having been suspended first on December 4.
The RFU’s chief drugs tester Stephen Watkins said: “This is the first time we have had a second offence since the policy was established in 2010.
“It should send a strong deterrent message to all players that the RFU takes the misuse of substances seriously.
“Players have responsibilities as role models in our sport and therefore have an important part to play in protecting its reputation.”