Ben Barba has signed with English club St Helens but is uncertain when he will return to the playing paddock.
Ben Barba has signed with English club St Helens but is uncertain when he will return to the playing paddock. DEAN LEWINS

Saints to appeal Barba cocaine ban

RUGBY LEAGUE: Ben Barba's immediate playing future remains uncertain with English Super League club St Helens planning to appeal his 12-game cocaine ban.

The former NRL star arrived at the club last week after signing a two-and-a-half year deal following his release by French rugby union club Toulon.

The former Cronulla fullback copped the illicit drug ban after testing positive following the Sharks' grand final victory last season, prompting him to head overseas.

If Barba serves the full suspension, he'll miss the rest of sixth-placed St Helens' season with just five regular-season matches remaining.

"I'm not sure what's going on," Barba told the club's website.

"I've got a bit of a suspension that's hanging around at the moment."

The NRL and England's governing body Rugby Football League have reciprocal acknowledgement of bans, but St Helens chairman Eamonn McManus confirmed the club will appeal the ban.

"If that offence had been committed in this country, then there would have been no ban," he said.

"For out-of-season illicit non-performance-enhancing drugs, there is no ban."

News Corp Australia

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