IRB Launches New Anti-Doping Programme
Tim Ricketts, the IRB Anti-Doping Manager, launched the initiative in Durban, South Africa, at an anti-doping seminar for players and officials participating in the IRB Under 19 World Championship 2005.
Ricketts explained to the 750 players and officials the testing procedures that they can expect to encounter in the coming three weeks. Before each match, numbers are drawn at random from each side, and those players are tested as soon after the match as possible.
Outside matchday testing, there is also random out-of-competition testing, where a tester can, at any time, request that a player or players from any side undergo a test.
With results arriving from the WADA-accredited laboratory in Bloemfontein within 48 hours, any disciplinary action can be taken with immediate effect.
“The IRB Under 19 World Championships is the ideal place to launch the IRB’s Player Outreach Program,” said Ricketts. “Raising awareness and educating the players about anti-doping issues is an important part of the IRB’s anti-doping programme. Implementing a Player Outreach Programme at the IRB's tournaments in conjunction with an extensive testing programme is a key step to ensuring that we keep rugby clean.”
In order to help reinforce the anti-doping message, the players involved in the tournament will also undertake a fun interactive quiz designed by WADA. Alongside this, anti-doping experts will be on hand to clarify any questions on the topic.
To assist with the awareness of the Player Outreach Programme, the IRB has recruited the support of a number of high profile players, including Brian O’Driscoll of Ireland, Schalk Burger of South Africa and Brian Lima of Samoa, who appear on IRB promotional banners developed in conjunction with WADA promoting the “Keep Rugby Clean” message.
At the seminar, Ricketts spoke on the harm associated with the use of banned substances, such as anabolic steroids and social recreational drugs. John Allan, former Scotland international, also urged the players to say no to drugs: "Most of you guys are 18 and a quarter of your life fulfilled with three quarters to go.
"Don't blow it for the rest of your life, let you control your own destiny and do it clean."
IRB anti-doping information