TOKYO, 4 Oct - All 20 teams competing at Rugby World Cup 2019 (RWC 2019) will unite to get behind Keep Rugby Clean weekend on 5-6 October in a show of solidarity and support for World Rugby’s anti-doping education and awareness programme.
With RWC 2019 already breaking records in terms of broadcast audiences and social media engagement, the Keep Rugby Clean weekend will provide an unparalleled global stage to educate the next generation of rugby stars about the dangers of doping and underscore the sport’s commitment to preserve a level playing field for all.
The 20 teams will all play their part in promoting the Keep Rugby Clean programme with all 620 players, along with team management and match officials, wearing Keep Rugby Clean t-shirts on match days and at public events to support the initiative, which is a feature at all World Rugby tournaments.
Keep Rugby Clean is recognised by the World Anti-Doping Agency as one of sport’s leading anti-doping education programmes, having supported around 20,000 players and team management since its launch in 2005.
The #KeepRugbyClean weekend is a key education strategy to deter doping, assist players in making informed ethical decisions, and promote the importance of healthy approaches to medication and nutrition.
World Rugby operates a robust anti-doping programme and all RWC 2019 teams have been subjected to a comprehensive pre-event testing programme in the year prior to the tournament, with programmes for each country carefully co-ordinated with National Anti-doping Organisations (NADOs). Blood, urine and biological passport tests have been conducted at a combination of training sessions, players homes, team hotels and matches.
Education is a fundamental part of the process and all RWC 2019 participating teams have undertaken mandatory anti-doping education as a key element of the tournament welfare programme. This includes e-learning and face-to-face sessions delivered in the players’ own language.
To mark the Keep Rugby Clean weekend, World Rugby will be releasing two new awareness films for participants, helping educate on safe approaches to nutrition and how to avoid the pitfalls of risky supplements. They videos are produced in English, French, Japanese and Spanish.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “"Doping is the biggest threat to the integrity of sport and the fight against doping begins with education. Rugby is a sport built on strong character-building values of respect, integrity, passion, discipline and solidarity and every player has the right to complete on a level playing field. Keep Rugby Clean weekend is a key element of our education strategy to deter doping and promote the importance of a maintaining a healthy, balanced diet."
“It is fantastic to see all 20 teams coming together with the match officials and everyone involved with Rugby World Cup 2019 to support this important initiative.”
World Rugby Anti-Doping General Manager Mike Earl said: “Keep Rugby Clean is a positive, proactive programme aimed at promoting clean sport and ensuring a fair, level playing field for all. It helps players at all levels of the game to improve their knowledge and awareness around the risks inherent in doping and provide education on key areas such use of supplements and nutrition.
“The Keep Rugby Clean weekend is an opportunity for everyone involved in the Rugby World Cup to show their commitment to clean sport, to promote a united front against doping and show that we take our responsibilities seriously and we are working as hard as we can to educate current and future players and promote a clean and fair game.”
The Keep Rugby Clean weekend will feature five matches as the pool phase continues with teams looking to claim vital points in their quests for quarter-finals qualification. Saturday sees Australia take on Uruguay, England versus Argentina and hosts Japan looking to continue their fine form against Samoa, while reigning champions New Zealand play Namibia and France face Tonga on Sunday.
For more information on Keep Rugby Clean visit www.keeprugbyclean.worldrugby.org or follow #KeepRugbyClean on social media.