British & Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton today joined forces with Aussie rival David Pocock, Puma legend Felipe Contepomi, French wing Vinent Clerc and Springbok flyer Bryan Habana in backing the IRB’s ‘Keep Rugby Clean’ campaign.
The world governing body’s campaign to promote anti-doping has been enthusiastically backed by top players and today’s ‘Keep Rugby Clean’ day coincided with the final round of Pool matches in the IRB Junior World Championships in France.
Warburton and Pocock were rivals captains at the inaugural event staged in Wales in 2008 and to mark the day the IRB launched a comprehensive E-learning programme that will be rolled out on www.irbkeeprugbyclean.com.
The multi-language site is an extensive learning tool that allows players, coaches, management and even parents to learn about the dangers of doping. The IRB Junior World Championship plays a key role in preparing aspiring stars of the Game for the rigours of Test rugby and Anti-Doping education is an essential element in that process.
The IRB operates a zero-tolerance policy to drug cheats in sport, in partnership with the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA). The Lions skipper is an Ambassador for ‘Keep Rugby Clean’.
"It's something I feel very strongly about. I think all top players got to where they are because they've been dedicated and honest, and they haven't felt the need to cheat," said Warburton.
"It's so much more satisfying when you do make it to the top without doping. Rugby has got such a clean record now we really got to work hard to keep it going.”
With Rugby’s continued expansion and participation numbers at unprecedented levels, the IRB undertook 1,542 tests (512 In Competition and 1,030 Out of Competition) across Fifteens and Sevens, in every continent in 2012.