The world’s leading rugby players are today uniting to promote clean sport on rugby’s biggest ever #KeepRugbyClean day at Rugby World Cup 2015.
A feature at all World Rugby tournaments, the anti-doping education initiative aims to educate and inform the importance of maintaining a level playing field in the sport and demonstrate the commitment of the teams and the sport to Keep Rugby Clean.
All 620 players, along with team management and officials, will wear Keep Rugby Clean T-shirts across playing, training and media activities in what will be the largest-ever educational campaign at a rugby event.
The programme aims to help players and support staff understand their responsibilities when it comes to competing clean and highlight the health and career dangers of taking shortcuts to make it to the top, using videos featuring players who have been banned for doping.
World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “With the most viewed and socially-connected rugby tournament ever already engaging and inspiring new audiences, Keep Rugby Clean Day provides an unprecedented opportunity to educate and inform the next generation of rugby players and wider society of the importance of maintaining a level playing field for all.
“While we do not believe that there is a culture of doping at the elite level of the game, the deterrent for the next generation of players is underpinned by education. As role models, the world’s top players have an important role to play in educating the next generation and providing a strong anti-doping message, not just in rugby, but to wider society. I would like to thank all the teams for their full support.”
Players who have been active in backing the campaign on social media, in stadia and at events, include Keep Rugby Clean ambassadors David Pocock of Australia, Wales captain Sam Warburton, South Africa winger Bryan Habana and England prop Dan Cole. They were joined by World Anti-Doping Agency Athlete Committee member and former Argentina captain, Dr. Felipe Contepomi, in spreading the message.
#KeepRugbyClean is recognised as one of the leading anti-doping education programmes, having supported more than 13,000 players and team management since its launch in 2005 and is a mandatory player welfare education component of every World Rugby tournament, with all 620 players, along with team management, have undertaken education modules ahead of RWC 2015.
Commended by WADA for its comprehensive educational and testing programmes, World Rugby will be implementing an extensive testing programme for Rugby World Cup 2015, which will be delivered by field-leader UK Anti-Doping (UKAD).
WADA Director General David Howman added: “By hosting its Keep Rugby Clean Day at Rugby World Cup 2015, World Rugby is once again demonstrating its strong clean sport credentials. Educating and informing today’s rugby players is important, but it is only by carrying the preventative message to the rugby players of tomorrow that we will be able to level the playing field fully and ensure that sport is competed fairly and without its integrity being questioned.”
World Rugby has joined forces with UKAD, the agency responsible for running the testing programme at Rugby World Cup 2015. Chief Executive Nicole Sapstead said: “Education will always be crucial to our shared mission to keep sport clean. Providing athletes, coaches and support staff with an understanding of the risks they face to their careers, and in many cases their health, if they decide to break the rules is an integral part of deterring doping, and protecting the integrity of sport.
“By committing to deterring and detecting doping, World Rugby are ensuring that the Rugby World Cup leaves behind a robust anti-doping legacy in the UK.”