Blood results confirm clean RWC 2007

(RUGBYWORLDCUP.COM) Tuesday 27 January 2009
 Blood results confirm clean RWC 2007
Rugby World Cup 2007 was a memorable event

Blood samples collected at Rugby World Cup 2007 and tested for Human Growth Hormone (hGH) have all returned negative results, the International Rugby Board revealed today.

The samples, taken Out of Competition during the tournament in France, had been frozen and stored at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory in Paris for future testing and detection while WADA fine-tuned the new test for the detection of hGH.

“The implementation of the new analysis technique that can now detect hGH abuse is another significant advancement in the fight against drug cheats in Sport. Any doping control samples collected can be stored for testing for up to eight years under the World Anti-Doping Code, which is a strong deterrent,” said IRB Anti-Doping Manager Tim Ricketts.

“The conclusion of the blood testing process, the first of its kind at a major Rugby tournament, completes the Rugby World Cup 2007 testing programme. Last year it was announced that the 192 tournament urine controls were negative and today’s blood analysis results confirm that France 2007 was 100 percent clean.”

“The IRB will continue to monitor the developments in blood testing and the prohibited substances that can be detected via this testing,” added Ricketts.

Commended by WADA for its extensive In Competition and Out of Competition testing programmes and educational campaign, the IRB conducted a total of 1,278 tests across its major international tournaments in 2007, including the IRB Sevens World Series and Age Grade events.

Nearly 60 percent of the tests were conducted Out of Competition with five anti-doping rule violations returned (three Cannabis, one Diuretic and one Anabolic Agent). Additionally, the IRB’s Member Unions and National Anti-Doping Agencies conducted a further 2,849 tests with 26 anti-doping rule violations committed – the lowest figures since 2002.

"The IRB conducted 916 tests in 2008 with 11 anti-doping rule violations committed and a further two cases which remain pending. Total figures, including the Member Union tests and case results, are currently being consolidated and will be released shortly,” confirmed Ricketts.

“In 2008 the IRB also focused its testing on Age Grade and Sevens, which included extensive testing on all Men’s and Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 qualification tournaments along with Out of Competition testing on the top 24 ranked Unions throughout the year ahead of the tournament in Dubai this March.”

“In addition over 700 players at Age Grade level were involved in the IRB's Outreach and Keep Rugby Clean campaigns which educate players about the doping control process and prohibited substances, including those known as recreational drugs,” added Ricketts.

During the period from 2004 to 2007 the IRB has handed down suspensions to 19 players who committed anti-doping rule violations for a variety of prohibited substances. These sanctions are in addition to 167 cases determined by Member Unions during the same period. The IRB adopts a supervisory role over the disciplinary process of Member Unions and since 2005 has successfully referred a number of cases to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).