Players, teams, officials and tournament staff at the World Rugby U20 Championship 2018 in France have been supporting the event’s Keep Rugby Clean Day, reiterating their commitment to maintaining a level playing field in rugby.
As the next generation of test stars, players at the Championship are an important and receptive group as anti-doping advocates, role models and influencers.
World Rugby is committed to providing comprehensive education which prepares young players for making the right choices, combining with extensive education undertaken by unions and national anti-doping agencies (NADOs) on an annual basis.
At the U20 Championship, interactive education was delivered to all 12 teams in their own language.
This education included the hard-hitting cautionary story of Arthur Bouwer, the Namibia international who received a four-year doping suspension, to remind players of the consequence of making the wrong life and career choices.
Players are also proactively committing to spreading the Keep Rugby Clean message within their own social media communities on Keep Rugby Clean Day.
One such player is Wales full-back Cai Evans, son of Wales and British and Irish Lions legend and World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee Ieuan, who said: “At its core, rugby is a very honest game. For a team to be successful on and off the pitch, you have to be honest with your team-mates and yourself in everything you do. Supporters need to know they can trust that they're watching clean athletes too.
“We have to set the example for the next generation of players coming through. Young people tend to follow the behaviour of senior players and, as role models, we need to show that cheating is not acceptable.”
Argentina winger Leopoldo Herrera added: “Providing an example to future players, showing you are within the rules, is a responsibility we all have in saying that you don’t need to cheat to get what you want. It is not only a lesson for rugby but a lesson for life.”
Education is supplemented by a robust intelligent testing programme which has included no-notice out-of-competition testing prior to and during the event. The tournament in- and out-of-competition anti-doping programme is run in partnership with Agence française de lutte contre le dopage (AFLD), France’s national anti-doping agency who have supported World Rugby in both education and testing activities.
World Rugby Anti-Doping Manager Mike Earl said: “The Keep Rugby Clean Day reflects the commitment of the global rugby family to maintaining and policing a level playing field. The players at this Championship have fully embraced the education and the ethos of the programme to consider how they can become anti-doping champions within their own playing communities, as they progress on their path to the top of the game.”
For more information on Keep Rugby Clean, visit keeprugbyclean.worldrugby.org.