Widnes’ Super League survival hopes have been dealt a blow with the news that Rangi Chase has tested positive for cocaine.
Chase, 31, only signed a permanent deal with the Vikings last month, but has now been suspended from all training and playing activity.
A club statement said: “Widnes Vikings received notification from UK Anti-Doping and the Rugby Football League today that Rangi Chase tested positively for cocaine in a drugs test, following the recent fixture against Wakefield Trinity.
“As a consequence, under Rugby Football League anti-doping regulations, he has been suspended from all training and playing activity.
“The Club fully respects this suspension and are currently reviewing this matter. There will be no further comment at this time.”
Chase made six appearances for Widnes having initially joined on loan from Castleford.
His permanent signature was announced to much fanfare by the club in a press conference, alongside young star Danny Walker.
It is yet another chapter in a turbulent career that has seen Chase leave his last three clubs – Castleford, Leigh and Salford – under a cloud.
Widnes are in action against Warrington in The Qualifiers on Friday night.
Hours before the Chase announcement, Widnes had revealed that the north stand at their Halton Stadium home was to be renamed in honour of late super fan Pat Price, who died in 2014.