The Irish Rugby Football Union fully recognises the need and its responsibility to remain vigilant at all times to the threat of performance enhancing drugs in the sport and implements an anti-doping policy in line with Irish Sports Council (ISC), World Rugby and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) regulations and guidelines.
The IRFU works closely with Sport Ireland to deliver a comprehensive and robust anti-doping programme. The IRFU's anti-doping strategy focuses on the following areas:
- In and out of competition testing of professional rugby players in Ireland
- Investment in additional testing to augment Sport Ireland testing through their User Pays programme
- Mandatory anti-doping education for all professional players in Ireland
- Mandatory anti-doping education for all representative underage players in Ireland
- Targeted testing of young players on the player pathway to professional rugby, i.e. provincial & national Schools and Club Under-18, Under-19 & Under-20 squads, provincial Academies, provincial 'A' teams
- Appointment of an anti-doping officer a mandatory element of Ulster Bank League participation
There was a 40% increase in the number of tests completed in 2015/16 compared to the 2014/15 season and while Rugby World Cup 2015 accounts for a 240% increase in testing of the Ireland senior squad from 28 tests to 94, there was also a significant increase in the level of testing of Ireland's Sevens players (43) who were competing in various World Rugby competitions.
73% of all Sport Ireland 'User Pays' testing in Ireland in 2015 was in rugby. Sport Ireland undertook 114 tests in rugby, while the IRFU (32), EPCR (16), 6 Nations (8) and World Rugby (110) all supplemented the testing through the 'User Pays' programme.
At Rugby World Cup 2015, the Ireland senior team were in-competition tested on 24 occasions. A total of 468 samples were taken from across the 20 participating nations - 200 in-competition tests and 268 out-of-competition tests.
The IRFU's Anti-Doping Report 2015/16 outlines the Union's strategy and zero policy approach to anti-doping in rugby.
Keep Rugby Clean: The IRFU support anti-doping and advise all players to participate in the World Rugby KEEP RUGBY CLEAN e-learning programme: http://keeprugbyclean.worldrugby.org/ Irish Sports Council: The ISC provide an excellent education platform online: http://www.irishsportscouncil.ie/Anti-Doping/Education-Zone/
Such is rugby's commitment to Anti-Doping that in addition to participating in the ISC National Programme Testing, the sport is one of just seven that directly funds additional ISC testing each year. With the support of the ISC Anti-Doping Unit and World Rugby, the IRFU is one of the few sports which has a dedicated age grade testing programme and undertakes an Age Grade Anti-Doping Education programme across all National and Provincial Age Grade Teams (U18 Schools, U.18 Clubs and U20s). The programme encompasses education and anti-doping control (testing) and a blend of workshops conducted by the ISC and completion of the World Rugby Real Winners e-learning modules.
If you have any queries in relation to anti-doping, please contact Gordon Black (IRFU Anti-Doping Officer) firstname.lastname@example.org