Record programme confirms clean RWC Sevens

(IRB.COM) Monday 8 June 2009

 Record programme confirms clean RWC Sevens
Uale Mai is an IRB Keep Rugby Clean ambassador

Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 has been declared a clean tournament, the International Rugby Board has confirmed.

“The unprecedented tournament testing programme was the most comprehensive programme ever run for a Sevens Rugby tournament and one of the biggest ever undertaken by the IRB,” said IRB Anti-Doping Manager Tim Ricketts.

“In addition to 80 controls taken In Competition across the 40 men’s and women’s teams during the RWC Sevens 2009 tournament, a programme of 759 tests were conducted throughout the qualification process and the IRB Sevens World Series over a 14-month period leading up to the Dubai tournament in March. The programme included 442 Out of Competition Tests on the top 24 ranked men’s Sevens teams.”

The historic three-day tournament, which featured a 16-team women’s competition for the first time running alongside the 24-team men’s event, also promoted the IRB’s Outreach and Keep Rugby Clean programmes, developed in partnership with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

“The purpose of these programmes is to educate players about the doping control process, Therapeutic Use Exemptions and prohibited substances, including those known as recreational drugs in line with other elite athlete testing programmes,” added Ricketts.

“An Outreach education stand was set up in the tournament hotel and over 300 players visited the stand and tested their knowledge of anti-doping by taking the WADA computer quiz. All found it extremely beneficial and on behalf of the IRB, I would like to thank all the players and officials involved for their enthusiasm.”

Uale Mai, the Samoa Sevens Captain and IRB Keep Rugby Clean ambassador, added: “I am very pleased that Rugby World Cup Sevens has been declared a clean tournament. International competition is the pinnacle of our sport and represents the very best the Game has to offer, so it is essential for the integrity and perception of Sevens that we return a clean competition.”

Commended by WADA for its extensive testing programmes and educational campaign, the IRB operates a zero-tolerance policy towards doping cheats in Rugby. At Rugby World Cup 2007, the IRB conducted blood tests for the first time with the programme also returning a clean record.

The IRB Keep Rugby Clean campaign will again be an integral part of the IRB TOSHIBA Junior World Championship 2009, which is currently taking place in Japan, with players and officials sporting a ‘Keep Rugby Clean’ t-shirt on June 17 to pledge their support to the campaign.