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Spreading The ‘Keep Rugby Clean’ Message

Spreading The ‘Keep Rugby Clean’ Message

This year’s Rugby World Cup will provide the global platform to spread the ‘Keep Rugby Clean’ message with players, coaches, referees and officials uniting to show their support for the International Rugby Board’s Anti-Doping educational campaign.

In a first for rugby’s showcase tournament, a dedicated Keep Rugby Clean Day will take place on Sunday, September 25, when Argentina play Scotland, Ireland take on Russia and Fiji tackle Samoa with the teams set to wear Keep Rugby Clean T-shirts prior to their matches.

All 20 of the Rugby World Cup teams will be provided with the Keep Rugby Clean T-shirts and will promote the campaign on the day.

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Ball boys and girls across the three venues will also wear T-shirts along with the match official team, who will sport the T-shirt for their warm-ups. Promotion will be supplemented within the match programmes and via stadia screens and announcements.

IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “The International Rugby Board operates a zero tolerance policy towards drug cheats in rugby.

“The Keep Rugby Clean programme has proven central in our mission to ensure that players around the world are prepared and informed in promoting drug-free rugby.

“Given the global exposure that the Rugby World Cup will enjoy through television coverage in over 200 territories, New Zealand 2011 will provide the perfect platform to promote the Keep Rugby Clean message to everyone in the game at all levels from the players to the fans.

“We are delighted that all the teams are united in support of the programme and would like to thank them for the time that they will invest during the tournament in spreading what is a very important message.”

The Keep Rugby Clean campaign has the support of a number of key international players, including IRB Anti-Doping Ambassadors Felipe Contepomi of Argentina, France’s Vincent Clerc, James Hook of Wales, Women’s Rugby World Cup winner Carla Hohepa of New Zealand and South Africa’s 2007 IRB Player of the Year Bryan Habana.

Former Leinster star Contepomi said: “I am proud to be an Ambassador of the IRB’s Keep Rugby Clean campaign. The ethos of fair play is essential to the spirit of the game and in ensuring a level playing field for all.

“As players, we have a collective responsibility to educate the next generation of rugby players at all levels.

“I invite my fellow competitors from all teams at the Rugby World Cup to support the Keep Rugby Clean Day on September 25 and spread the Keep Rugby Clean message by wearing the special T-shirts.”

Keep Rugby Clean is the game’s leading anti-doping educational programme and has played a central role in the fight against drugs cheats in rugby since its launch in 2005.

Over 6,000 of the world’s top players having participated in the interactive sessions run by the IRB at its tournaments around the world.

Campaigns already run at the IRB Junior World Championship, IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy, IRB Nations Cup, HSBC Sevens World Series, Women’s Rugby World Cup and Rugby World Cup Sevens have proven highly successful in educating players about the dangers of doping through a combination of a free-to-use interactive website and hands on workshops.

Praised by WADA for its comprehensive educational and testing programmes, the IRB has implemented an extensive testing programme for the 2011 Rugby World Cup which will be delivered by Drug Free Sport New Zealand.

In partnership with its 117 member Unions, the IRB operated a record testing and education programme in 2010.

The IRB undertook 1,288 tests across men’s and women’s fifteen and seven-a-side competitions, in addition to over 4,000 controls undertaken by IRB member Unions and national anti-doping agencies. There were just five IRB anti-doping rule violations in 2010.

For more information on the IRB’s testing programme or anti-doping rule violations, please visit www.keeprugbyclean.com.

Follow the Ireland team in New Zealand on www.twitter.com/irfurugby.