The International Rugby Board has underscored its continued commitment to the fight against doping in Rugby by maintaining record levels of testing and education during 2010.
With Rugby participation expanding by 18% since Rugby World Cup 2007, Rugby’s governing body undertook 1,288 tests (443 In Competition and 845 Out of Competition) across men’s and women’s Fifteens and Rugby Sevens competitions in every continent. The extensive regime was supported by the IRB’s Outreach and Keep Rugby Clean education programmes which are run in partnership with the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA).
The testing programme operated across Rugby World Cup 2011 Qualifiers (559 controls), Rugby Sevens (407 controls), Age Grade Rugby (148 controls), Women’s Rugby World Cup (99 controls) and other IRB 15-a-side-tournaments (75), including the IRB Pacific Nations Cup and IRB Nations Cup.
Despite the rigorous testing programme, there were just five IRB Anti-Doping rule violations in 2010. That amounts to 0.39 percent of the total testing regime. Three violations were for an Anabolic Agent and two were for Cannabis.
Commenting on the programme, IRB Anti-Doping Manager Tim Ricketts said: "The IRB and its Member Unions operate a zero-tolerance policy towards drugs cheats in Rugby and this record testing programme, combined with over 4,000 controls administered in 2010 by our Member Unions and their National Anti-Doping Organisations, underscores our collaborative commitment in this critical area of the Game."
"While Rugby has been at the forefront in the fight against doping in Sport, it is important that we continue to develop policies that put the player first and ensure that our players have access to the best educational framework in the area of Anti-Doping. This includes education around the dangers of using nutritional supplements, performance enhancing and recreational drugs.”
Enhanced education initiatives, which includes the delivery of the Keep Rugby Clean awareness programme, are delivered to over 500 players annually at IRB tournaments. Key to player education is the IRB’s interactive Anti-Doping website KeepRugbyClean.com, designed to educate and inform the global Rugby family on all aspects of Anti-Doping.
Available in three languages (English, French and Spanish), the site can be found at www.irbkeeprugbyclean.com 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, including Bryan Habana, Vincent Clerc, Heather Moyse and Humphrey Kayange.
“Education is paramount in everything that we do, particularly with the Game reaching out to more men, women and children than ever before. We are concentrating on expanding our education portfolio, including key information on recreational drugs and supplements and we will continue to work closely with our Unions on optimising awareness in order that Rugby’s values of fair play and integrity continue to be enjoyed by all.”
With Rugby World Cup 2011 a little over three months away, Ricketts added: “Rugby World Cup 2011 is the focus of the global Rugby family. We will be running an unprecedented testing programme alongside a wider educational programme, using the tournament as an education platform to reach the global Rugby family. More details will be announced soon.”