Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) has announced that the RWC 2007 Anti-Doping programme has returned a 100 percent clean record with no positive results for all laboratory analysis conducted to date. The programme, which was the most extensive in Rugby World Cup history, comprised 212 tests across the Tournament and included both urine and blood samples.

“The Rugby World Cup 2007 Anti-Doping programme was the largest of its kind for a Rugby Tournament and proved to be a massive success,” said IRB Anti-Doping Manager Tim Ricketts.

“The programme was run with the assistance of the French National Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) for the matches in France and UK Sport for the matches hosted in Edinburgh and Cardiff. It comprised four tests from every match and an extensive Out of Competition blood testing programme, a first for Rugby World Cup.”

Blood testing for the first time

Blood samples collected outside of match days during the Tournament were tested for Haemoglobin Based Oxygen Carriers (HBOCs). At present no analysis procedure for human growth hormone currently exists. However, the samples will be retained under strict laboratory conditions for future testing.

“These samples are currently being stored at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory in Paris until such a test is available. WADA predicts that this could be as soon as within the next twelve months,” said Ricketts.

Praise from WADA

The Rugby World Cup 2007 testing programme also prompted praise from WADA with Director General David Howman stating during the Tournament that the IRB’s Anti-Doping programme was a model that other governing bodies could follow.

“The IRB has done extremely well at setting up its own doping programme in the thorough way it has - it is one of the best that sport has as an international federation. It makes it easy to say that the IRB is compliant to the (WADA) code and to hold it up for others to follow."

Record Programme 

The IRB operates a zero-tolerance stance towards the use of prohibited substances and drug cheats in the Game and is on target to conduct a record number of controls during 2007 with over 1300 tests due to be completed before the end of the year.

“In addition the IRB raises awareness of the dangers of performance-enhancing and recreational drugs through its hugely successful Outreach and Keep Rugby Clean campaigns. These campaigns have been developed in partnership with WADA and a number of RWC 2007 players will have come through that system,” added Ricketts.