On the eve of the RBS 6 Nations Championship, the Ireland team launched the IRFU’s ‘Keep Rugby Clean’ education programme for clubs and schools, reaffirming their support of World Rugby’s anti-doping programme which highlights the dangers of drugs in sport.
At today’s open training session in the Aviva Stadium, in front of 5,000 supporters, the Ireland team wore Keep Rugby Clean T-shirts to raise awareness of the importance of drug free sport. The Keep Rugby Clean education programme will focus on schools, clubs and elite development level.
The schools programme will include eight regional workshops and education packs – including posters, leaflets and activities for teachers and coaches to complete with their players – provided to schools in the run up to the forthcoming Schools Cup finals.
In addition, and in conjunction with Sport Ireland, the IRFU have trained six tutors to provide education programmes, based on World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) guidelines, to age-grade players (12-16 year-olds) and coaching staff in clubs and schools nationwide.
A further five education workshops will be provided to elite development squads, complimenting existing World Rugby and Sport Ireland programmes for international players.
Gordon Black, IRFU Anti-Doping Officer, commented: “In partnership with Sport Ireland we have developed a robust anti-doping programme but we must stay vigilant and flexible in how we target testing in our sport. Education and awareness are two key elements in our prevention strategy which we will continue to invest in over the years to come.”
Dr Úna May, Sport Ireland, added: “Sport Ireland is committed to inspiring fair play in sport and protecting the rights of clean athletes. Initiatives such as the ‘Keep Rugby Clean’ campaign play an important role in raising awareness of the importance of drug free sport across all ages and grades throughout the game.”
World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper said: “World Rugby and its member unions are committed to the protection of a level playing field for all and anti-doping education is a vital tool in protecting clean sport.
“Our Keep Rugby Clean programme, delivered to more than 100,000 players worldwide, is a key tool in preventing doping as it helps players to make the right choices so they do not risk their health or their playing career.
“As role models, the world’s top players have embraced the Keep Rugby Clean campaign and it is great to see the IRFU and the Ireland teams playing their role in providing a strong anti-doping message to both current and the next generation of players at all levels.”
The IRFU have worked closely with Sport Ireland, for many years, to deliver a comprehensive and robust anti-doping programme for rugby in Ireland. The IRFU’s anti-doping strategy, delivered in partnership with Sport Ireland, focuses on the following elements:
– Robust in-competition and out-of-competition testing of professional rugby players
– Funding of additional testing under Sport Ireland’s 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
Professional rugby players must adhere to World Rugby’s Whereabouts programme which provides accurate location information so that they can be randomly tested at any time.
The Whereabouts player information ensure testers are always aware of where player live, when and where they train, where they work or study, competition schedules, holiday schedules and locations.