World Rugby maintained its commitment to drug-free sport with a record programme of intelligent testing, education and Keep Rugby Clean awareness in 2015.
With a budget increase of almost 30 per cent, World Rugby carried out more tests in 2015 than ever before – a total of 3,562 – showing a real commitment to protecting clean athletes by promoting a level playing field. The intelligent testing programme featured targeted tests in and out-of-competition for both blood and urine involving male and female players involved in both 15s and sevens.
The in-competition programme included Rugby World Cup 2015, Olympic Games qualification, World Rugby U20 Championship and U20 Trophy, as well as a number of other tournaments, with out-of-competition testing conducted at training camps, at players' homes and other testing opportunities.
Since 2013, World Rugby has been operating a successful athlete biological passport programme (ABP), which monitors individual biological profiles collected in blood and urine over time. The programme applies to both men and women and underpinned the intelligent-testing approach. The ABP looks for changes in players' steroidal and haematological profiles that may indirectly indicate doping and enables more precise targeting of players for testing and analysis.
In total, there were 2,629 out-of-competition tests carried out (950 blood, including 495 ABP, plus 1,679 urine) and 933 in-competition tests, of which 917 were urine. Of those, there were four adverse analytical findings. One of those positive tests resulted in a four-year suspension to a player for use of oxandrolone while the three other cases are still live.
World Rugby previously confirmed Rugby World Cup 2015 anti-doping results, which can be found HERE.
As a companion to testing, rugby's governing body has long believed in the preventative power of values-based education and in 2015 educated a record number of players as well as running a global Keep Rugby Clean day involving 650 players at RWC 2015. World Rugby delivered mandatory education workshops to 2,276 players, coaches and staff through its Keep Rugby Clean programme in 2015. A further 6,103 players completed World Rugby's Keep Rugby Clean e-learning module last year. In total there are more than 14,000 registered users of the Keep Rugby Clean e-learning tool which was launched in June 2013 plus an estimated 13,000 players have engaged in face-to-face education since the programme began.
World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper said: "Doping remains a major integrity threat to all sports and World Rugby is committed to a zero-tolerance approach through intelligent testing and values-based education."
"As rugby continues to grow and thrive around the world, it is essential to educate all involved in the game that there are no short-cuts when it comes to playing sport at any level.”
World Rugby Anti-Doping General Manager Mike Earl added: "World Rugby is committed to effective, risk-based anti-doping testing, and we also take our education role very seriously to ensure that players at all levels of the game understand the consequences of doping, and how to maintain a safe approach to medication and sports nutrition."
"Our values-based education programme is highly interactive and is designed to engage and educate young players and their support staff at all levels of the game and we are delighted with the response that we receive from players and our unions alike."
Overall rugby testing figures from National Anti-Doping Organisations will be announced in the WADA report later this year. For more information of World Rugby's anti-doping programmes and to undertake Keep Rugby Clean education, visit HERE.