Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll and IRB Anti-Doping Manager Tim Ricketts stand alongside a poster promoting the Keep Rugby Clean campaign

Brian O'Driscoll backs the Keep Rugby Clean campaign run by Tim Ricketts

Keep Rugby Clean

Keep Rugby Clean is the message of an ongoing campaign run by the International Rugby Board’s (IRB) Anti-Doping Manager Tim Ricketts and backed by some of the sport’s biggest stars.

The final element of a five star anti-doping programme that is being implemented at the IRB Under 19 World Championship in Dubai is a Keep Rugby Clean Day, which is being held on Wednesday 12 April. 

“It is a five star approach that we are implementing at the IRB U19 World Championship,” explained Ricketts. “The first was an anti-doping seminar which was delivered to the 720 players and team officials prior to the start of the tournament.

“This was then followed by an out of competition testing programme, where players were tested outside of a match situation and the IRB’s policy on this is that players can be tested anywhere at any time.

“This was complemented by in competition testing where two players per team per match are being tested across random matches during the tournament.

Five star

“Further anti-doping education in the form of an Outreach education programme, which is being delivered in partnership with the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA), sees players and team officials undergo an anti-doping quiz in their own time. 

"For reaching the set target score they receive a Keep Rugby Clean t-shirt, which have generously been supplied by adidas. 

“The final element of the five star programme is the Keep Rugby Clean Day on 12 April where all players, team management, tournament officials and referees will wear these t-shirts stamping their support of the Keep Rugby Clean message.”

The delivery of this aggressive anti-doping programme at the IRB U19 World Championship is to ensure the players are familiar with the testing procedures and receive the right education.  This will give them a good head start on what to expect as their rugby careers progress.

“Over the past four years we have conducted over 650 tests [at this level] and the good news is that all of those have been negative, which is a credit to the players and the member unions that have participated,” revealed Ricketts.

“We are aiming to maintain this impressive statistic moving forward.

Future stars

"It is also a good insight to the future in that these guys are going to be the up and coming stars and if we are starting off on the right foot with negative drug tests with this age group, it looks good for the future health of the game in this area.”

On Keep Rugby Clean Day all the players, team officials, referees and tournament staff will wear t-shirts stamping their support of the Keep Rugby Clean message.

IRB Anti-Doping Manager Tim Ricketts

One player to go on to become a star name in the rugby world who was part of the winning team in this tournament in 1998 is Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll. 

His support of the Keep Rugby Clean campaign is invaluable for the IRB.

“The Keep Rugby Clean campaign is endorsed by four high profile international players of which Brian is one,” explained Ricketts. “These players are great ambassadors of the game and role models to all the players and the rugby community, which is why they were asked to support the IRB’s anti-doping campaign.

“He is a great player who displays all the elements of a true leader both on and off the pitch who younger players look up to. To have Brian supporting the Keep Rugby Clean campaign is great for the IRB’s anti-doping programme and the promotion of rugby as a drug free sport.” 

Brian O’Driscoll was in Dubai watching the Ireland v France match on Sunday and said that it was great to see the level of testing and education that is being delivered by the IRB at the U19 World Championship. 

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