- Pocock and Warburton pledge support to Keep Rugby Clean
- Stars join campaign delivered in partnership with WADA
- Outreach, education and testing programmes key to success
David Pocock and Sam Warburton may be opposing captains when Australia and Wales take to the field for the second of their three Test matches on Saturday, but the flankers have united to become the latest international stars to pledge their support to the Keep Rugby Clean campaign as Ambassadors.
Warburton and Pocock join an illustrious list of Rugby’s leading names to support and promote the IRB's Keep Rugby Clean outreach, education and testing programmes, delivered in partnership with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), to maintain a level playing field for the sport.
As captains of the Australia and Wales Under 20 sides at the inaugural IRB Junior World Championship in 2008, the pair completed the IRB's outreach Anti-Doping education programme during the tournament and are now set to use their profile to spread awareness of the Anti-Doping campaign and underline the IRB's zero-tolerance policy towards drugs cheats in Rugby.
“Keep Rugby Clean is a great educational initiative that has the potential to quickly become a very powerful tool in the quest to reduce the impact of drugs, both in rugby, but also in wider society,” said Pocock.
“I was delighted to be given the opportunity to participate in the programme. To be given the chance to offer guidance to others, in the same manner in which it was afforded to me at the IRB Junior World Championship in 2008, is a privilege that I hold dear.”
Sam Warburton said: “I am absolutely delighted to be a part of this important programme to spread the word about the importance of competing on a level playing field.”
“As a player who undertook the IRB's Outreach programme at the IRB Junior World Championship in Wales in 2008, I am honoured to now be able to give something back and help educated players at all levels. I am looking forward to being an Ambassador and assist in any way I can to Keep Rugby Clean.”
Fellow Keep Rugby Clean Ambassadors represent all areas of the Game, including Women’s Rugby and Sevens, with Felipe Contemponi (Argentina), Bryan Habana (South Africa), Cecil Afrika (South Africa Sevens), Vincent Clerc (France), Carla Hohepa (New Zealand) and Heather Moyse (Canada) already an essential part of the education and outreach programme.
"The IRB and its Member Unions are committed to the fight against doping in sport and have worked tirelessly with WADA in recent years to ensure Rugby’s zero tolerance to doping is supported by robust educational and outreach programmes," said IRB Anti-Doping Manager Tim Ricketts.
“Our Keep Rugby Clean Ambassadors have been instrumental in the programme’s success. Sam Warburton and David Pocock have benefitted directly from the education programme run at our Age Grade tournaments when they played at the IRB Junior World Championship in 2008. It is superb that they want to give back and help educate a new generation of stars looking to follow in their illustrious footsteps.”
"I would like to thank both players and their Unions for their support and indeed all of our Keep Rugby Clean Ambassadors who play such a key role in this crucial education process. We have a strong international line-up and with Felipe Contepomi on the WADA Athlete Committee, Rugby has a strong voice in Anti-Doping matters."
Rugby World Cup 2011 witnessed a record IRB testing programme, coupled with testing controls administered by Member Unions and their respective National Anti-Doping Organisations. New Zealand 2011 also marked the first RWC Keep Rugby Clean Day supported by all participating players and Unions, which has become a regular feature of all IRB Age Grade and Women’s Rugby World Cup events.
The IRB will deliver increased educational programmes in 2012, running Keep Rugby Clean awareness campaigns at major IRB tournaments including the Junior World Championship and Sevens events, and anticipates reaching more than 1,000 players during the year. The IRB Junior World Championship 2012 Keep Rugby Clean Day will take place on June 12.
"While Rugby continues to be at the forefront in the fight against doping in sport, we have a collective responsibility to ensure that our players, physicians and administrators have access to the very best educational framework," added Ricketts.