Méndez star turn at Anti-Doping Seminar
By Frankie Deges
The first official function of the JWRT was the successful gathering of the 208 participating players of eight nations who attended the IRB Anti-Doping Seminar.
The one-hour presentation hosted by the IRB’s Anti-Doping Coordinator Ilaria Baudo, was part of the IRB campaign to keep the sport clean and the highlight of the conference was former Puma Federico Méndez addressing the players.
“Rugby is a game to be enjoyed; it has to be played with intelligence, with the heart and with guts. No drugs will give you that. Using drugs as a shortcut is not on in rugby and you could lose the one thing that is unbeatable: playing the game.”
“Furthermore,” said 78-capped Méndez, “you could embarrass the game, your country, your club, your family and yourself. It is not worth it.”
After the presentation, aimed to educate players on the risks of using doping and about the IRB Keep Rugby Clean programme, Jamaican captain Tyrone Rowe could not contain his joy. “Coming to this tournament is the best experience of my life. And I also speak for my team mates who are loving it,” he said.
Rowe’s team arrived at the venue for the Anti-Doping Seminar and immediately ensured that the occasion was one to remember. They went around shaking hands of the other eight teams, taking photos and getting a sense of what will come. They are the least experienced side, having not played at this level before.
“We will play an open and expansive game and we will try to impose our own game,” explained Rowe, a centre for the Caribs RFC.
Their debut will not come easy as an experienced Georgian team will play them in the first round of this, the first IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy and will be played at the Universidad Católica, San Carlos de Apoquindo, right in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. Their clash is one of four in every match day. The other matches to be played on the opening day include Uruguay v Korea (at the same venue) and Romania v Namibia and Chile v Cook Islands at the Stade Français Club.
“If I could have it my way, I would start playing now,” said Chilean captain Benjamín del Solar. “The worst part of all of this is waiting for the matches to start.” The feeling of the veteran of two IRB Under 19 World Championships is certainly echoed by each one of the 208 players ready to play in this tournament.