Sevens players commit to Keep Rugby Clean

(IRB.COM) Thursday 20 June 2013  
 Sevens players commit to Keep Rugby Clean
South Africa's Cecil Afrika is a Keep Rugby Clean ambassador

The twin pillars of testing and education will again be to the fore in Moscow as the world’s top Sevens players commit to Keep Rugby Clean at Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013.

A comprehensive testing programme is in place for the tournament, which runs from June 28-30 at the iconic Luzhniki Stadium in the Russian capital. As well as in-competition testing, players will also be subject to urine and blood tests out of competition from the time they land in the country.

The IRB has highlighted its commitment to the promotion of drug-free Rugby with the appointment of the Russian National Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) to deliver the rigorous testing programme in Moscow. All samples collected will be sent for analysis at the World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited laboratory in the city.

A total of 1,102 tests were conducted on Sevens players through RWC Sevens qualifying tournaments, the HSBC Sevens World Series and out of competition over the past 18 months. These tests yielded a total of nine violations.

But testing is only one side of the battle against performance-enhancing drugs in Rugby. Education is key and all participating teams received the anti-doping handbooks (translated into 10 languages) prior their departure to the tournament.

All anti-doping educational resources are available on The e-learning programme, which was launched on June 13, is an extensive tool that allows players, coaches and team management to learn about the dangers and consequences of doping.

From Tuesday to Thursday next week, there will be an Anti-Doping Outreach station located in the team hotel. Players and other team personnel will be encouraged to visit the station where anti-doping information and advice will be provided.

The IRB’s Keep Rugby Clean campaign has the backing of a number of ambassadors, including British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton, Argentina’s Felipe Contepomi, Australia flanker David Pocock, Carla Hohepa from New Zealand, Heather Moyse of Canada and South Africa Sevens star Cecil Afrika.

Indeed, Afrika will be a key member of the South Africa team taking part in Moscow. He said: “The Keep Rugby Clean campaign is an easy one for me to support as I live my life and play my Rugby by that motto. I accepted the role as an ambassador to the campaign because I believe that my lifestyle is living proof of that and that it hopefully can motivate others to do the same.”

If you're unsure, don't take it

“I would recommend the IRB’s efforts to educate players on the importance of anti-doping and would urge the players to take notice of and attend these workshops. The argument that someone did not know will never be an excuse when it comes to doping. As a potential or current professional Rugby player, you should make sure what the dangers and pitfalls are when it comes to the use of substances and supplements. My advice would be that if you are unsure about the legality of something, don’t take it.”

IRB Anti-Doping Manager for Testing and Education, Ilaria Baudo, said: “Rugby Sevens demonstrates all that is good about our sport – athleticism, skill, power and camaraderie – and it also espouses the Game’s core values of integrity, respect, solidarity, passion and discipline. And that includes remaining clean.”

“Players need to understand the dangers and consequences of doping, the pitfalls concerning nutritional supplement use and how to maintain a healthy and clean approach to sports nutrition. Our Keep Rugby Clean initiative helps promote those values.”