Players unite to Keep Rugby Clean

(IRB.COM) Saturday 14 June 2008
 Players unite to Keep Rugby Clean
Australia players participate in the IRB's Outreach programme at the IRB Junior World Championship 2008 in Wales

The final round of matches at the IRB Junior World Championship 2008, which is bringing the finest Under 20 rugby players to Wales, are being used as the platform to educate and raise awareness that there is no place for doping in Rugby.

All 500 players and management from the 16 participating teams along with match officials and tournament organisers, will be showing their support of the International Rugby Board’s Keep Rugby Clean campaign by wearing branded polo shirts bearing the slogan on Saturday with the players wearing the shirts during the warm-up.

“Keep Rugby Clean is the International Rugby Board's ongoing anti-doping awareness campaign," said IRB Anti-Doping Manager Tim Ricketts. "The IRB is committed to drugs-free rugby from age grade rugby through to senior rugby and a key part of the delivery of this programme is the extensive testing of players both in and out of competition here at the IRB Junior World Championship.

"All 16 teams at the tournament have been extremely positive in their support of the testing process and have willingly participated in an anti-doping seminar and outreach quiz run in conjunction with the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA), where Keep Rugby Clean t-shirts were presented to those who achieved maximum marks."

"Not only will the players, coaches and team liaison officers from the 16 teams be wearing the Keep Rugby Clean polo shirts, but the match officials and tournament officials will also be raising awareness of the campaign," added Ricketts.

The IRB operates a zero-tolerance stance towards the use of prohibited substances and drug cheats in the Game and in 2007 conducted a record number of controls across a range of tournaments and Test matches with over 1300 tests completed. A total of five players returned adverse analytical findings and were sanctioned accordingly. Rugby World Cup 2007 was also declared ‘clean’, while a ground breaking RWC blood testing programme was implemented.

Also in 2007, then WADA President Dick Pound praised the Game for its tough stance on drugs cheats and the IRB’s strong education programme through its Keep Rugby Clean campaign.

“The IRB, who are fully WADA code compliant, have been long-standing partners of WADA and have set a positive example in the fight to keep drugs cheats out of sport that other sports federations would do well to follow,” said Pound.

By the time the IRB Junior World Championship 2008 is completed a total of 132 doping controls will have been conducted with 60% conducted out of competition.

In the pick of the matches on what will be an exciting final round of pool matches on Saturday, Australia face England at Rodney Parade (kick off 14:30 local time), Wales take on France at the Liberty Stadium (17:00), South Africa play Samoa at the Racecourse (17:00) and New Zealand tackle Argentina at the Arms Park (17:00). The winner of each match will be guaranteed a place in the semi-finals, which will be played on Wednesday, 18 June.