Players, teams, officials and tournament staff at the World Rugby U20 Championship 2019 in Argentina have pledged to maintain a level playing field in rugby by uniting behind Keep Rugby Clean Day on Wednesday.
Keep Rugby Clean is World Rugby’s anti-doping awareness and education brand, which aims to support players and participants with high quality education, promote good ethics within the game, and help develop informed and honest players.
Taking place on the third match day of the tournament, players took part in interactive activities that centred on keeping rugby clean and drug-free. Players were also encouraged to spread the Keep Rugby Clean message through their own social media communities on the day, with prizes up for grabs for the best social post.
Ahead of the U20 Championship, World Rugby were supported by the teams’ national anti-doping organisations who ensured that all players were provided with nation-specific and language-specific anti-doping education before leaving for the tournament. This helps to ensure players are well-informed on key anti-doping issues like safe nutrition and doping risks.
U20 players are a key target audience for World Rugby’s anti-doping message. By educating them to learn good habits and avoid costly mistakes at an early age, the next generation of stars can go on to become role models and influencers, championing the anti-doping cause.
One such advocate is South Africa flanker Dylan Richardson, who said: “It’s really important to keep rugby clean. In order to play against the best at the highest level we need to be sure that everyone is on the same level and everyone is treated fairly.”
Argentina’s Gerónimo Prisciantelli added: “Players have the responsibility of keeping the game clean, keeping it in line with the spirit of rugby and the values we were taught as young boys.”
New Zealand captain Kianu Kereru-Symes said: “Being educated about anti-doping is a crucial part of our game, we cannot afford to be naïve or underprepared in this aspect of rugby. We like the motto play hard but play fair, which sums up the Keep Rugby Clean programme.”
Wales captain Dewi Lake added: “Keeping rugby clean is a core part of the sport and it falls to all of us involved to ensure we are doing everything we can to set the right example for others to follow. Cheating in rugby on any level is absolutely unacceptable and we in the Welsh team are determined to promote the highest possible standards in anti-doping so that we remain true to the values of the game.”
Education is supplemented by a robust intelligent testing programme which has included no-notice out-of-competition testing prior to and during the event.
World Rugby Anti-Doping Manager Mike Earl said: “Keep Rugby Clean Day is a fantastic opportunity to reinforce our core message on anti-doping values, while underlining the commitment of the global rugby family to maintain a level playing field. It has been great to see the players at this Championship fully embrace the education and the ethos of the programme.
“By inspiring them to become anti-doping champions, they can help spread the message 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