NEWPORT-BORN Wigan Warriors academy player and Wales rugby league international Rhys Pugsley has been suspended for two years after testing positive for anabolic steroids.

The 19-year-old forward made his Wales debut on his 18th birthday and has been an important member of Wigan's academy.

He tested positive for steroids in an out-of-competition test in April.

A statement from Wigan confirmed Pugsley had admitted taking the drug once "without full understanding of the potential consequences".

It added that Pugsley, who has not appeared for Wigan's first team, had "accepted complete responsibility for his actions in going against UK Anti-Doping's, the Rugby Football League's and Wigan's strict anti-doping policies."

Kris Radlinski, Wigan rugby general manager, said: "Rhys has been honest and contrite throughout the process and has extended apologies to Wigan coaching staff, players and sponsors for his actions in letting down both himself and the Wigan club.

"The club will support him, as allowed, through this difficult time and is in the process of constructing a rehabilitation programme to take effect after the recommended period of remorse, reflection and full awareness," he added.

UK Anti-Doping legal director, Graham Arthur, said: "Athletes should be under no illusion. From January 1, this type of offence will result in an automatic four-year ban.

"The 2015 World Anti-Doping Code deals severely with those who, like Rhys Pugsley, choose to intentionally dope."

Pugsley's suspension applies from 15 May, 2014.