An important aspect of each and every International Rugby Board tournament is the Anti-Doping programme that includes testing, education and awareness.
Over the next month, players at the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy in Georgia and Junior World Championship in Italy will take part in the Outreach Keep Rugby Clean Programme and each team will have players tested both In and Out of Competition.
At the Trophy in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, the third match day on Wednesday has been designated Keep Rugby Clean Day, when tournament organisers, players, coaches and match officials will wear branded Keep Rugby Clean t-shirts pledging their support to the IRB’s Anti-Doping campaign.
“We are protecting and promoting the image of Rugby as a clean sport,” explained IRB Anti-Doping Officer David Ho, who is in Georgia for the Under 20 tournament.
“Players need to be aware of the dangers and by providing them with the right information and tools they can make the right choices. Education and awareness play an integral part.”
Players of the eight participating teams in the Trophy were all sent an individual education pack before heading to the tournament and had to complete the Real Winner programme, as a group at a training camp or individually.
The Real Winner resource is an online education programme – available at www.irbkeeprugbyclean.com – consists of interactive videos and provides an introduction to the testing procedures, the Prohibited List, the dangers of supplements and the effects prohibited substances can have on their health.
Every team in Georgia has attended an outreach session face to face with an IRB Anti-Doping representative who reiterates what the programme is all about, the dangers of taking shortcuts in their quest for sporting success, and common traps which as top level players they need to be aware of.
Samoa's Under 20s show their support for the IRB's Anti-Doping campaign in Georgia
Players are advised that they can be asked to provide a Sample for doping control at anytime, anywhere during their career and they are provided with a comprehensive explanation on the principle of strict liability, which ultimately means each player is solely responsible for any Prohibited Substance that may be found in their body.
“Positive tests may also come from recreational drugs such as Marijuana, Ecstasy and Cocaine,” explained Ho. “As players they need to be aware that they have not just a responsibility on the field but also off the field.”
The Keep Rugby Clean website – www.irbkeeprugbyclean.com – is available in three languages (English, French and Spanish) and features all the latest Anti-Doping information, news and practical advice, video and interactive elements as well as information on the eight IRB Keep Rugby Clean Ambassadors – Bryan Habana, Vincent Clerc, Heather Moyse, Humphrey Kayange, James Hook, Felipe Contepomi, Carla Hohepa and George Smith.