- Record testing programme centred on education
- Zero-tolerance to drugs cheats in sport
- Keep Rugby Clean programme praised by WADA
The International Rugby Board has underscored its continued commitment to the fight against doping in Rugby by undertaking a record programme of testing and education during 2011.
With Rugby continuing to break new markets with global exposure and participation at unprecedented levels, the Game's governing body undertook 1,714 tests (587 In Competition and 1,127 Out of Competition) across Fifteens and Sevens in every continent during a year that also saw a record blood testing programme at the flagship Rugby World Cup. The testing programme operated across Rugby World Cup 2011 (989 tests), Rugby Sevens (489 tests), Age Grade (138 tests), other IRB Fifteens tournaments (58) and regional championships (40 tests).
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Despite the rigorous testing programme, there were eight Anti-Doping rule violations in 2011. That amounts to 0.46 per cent of the total testing programme. Four violations were for stimulants (Methylhexaneamine found in nutritional supplements), two were for anabolic agents (Testosterone), one for a diuretic (Probenicid) and one for a narcotic (Oxycodone) used for pain relief. There were no positive results recorded in Sevens.
The extensive testing regime was supported by the IRB's Outreach and Keep Rugby Clean education programmes, which are run in partnership with World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), with the first-ever dedicated Rugby World Cup Keep Rugby Clean Day held during New Zealand 2011.
Commenting on the record programme, IRB Anti-Doping Manager Tim Ricketts said: "The IRB and its Member Unions are committed to the fight against doping in sport."
"This record IRB testing programme, combined with over 4,000 controls administered in 2011 by our Member Unions and their respective National Anti-Doping Organisations as well as a dedicated education programme, underlines our collaborative commitment to this critical area of the Game."
"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."
"This includes the education around the dangers of failing to check nutritional supplements and medications thoroughly and awareness around recreational drugs and support mechanisms. All of the violations that were recorded in 2011 could have been avoided if players and their physicians had checked the ingredients of the products against the WADA Prohibited List prior to taking them."
The IRB focused on increased educational programmes in 2011, including the delivery of Keep Rugby Clean awareness campaigns at Rugby World Cup 2011 and IRB Age Grade and Sevens events delivered to over 1,000 players during the year.
The key to player education resource is the IRB's interactive Anti-Doping website www.keeprugbyclean.com, designed to inform the global Rugby community on all aspects of Anti-Doping.
The year also saw Argentina star and Rugby World Cup 2007 Bronze medallist Felipe Contepomi appointed to the WADA Athlete Committee. Contepomi is one of seven IRB Keep Rugby Clean Ambassadors representing men's and women's Fifteens and Sevens.