Player suspended following failed drugs test
December 8, 2011
The International Rugby Board have hailed the success of their anti-doping campaign © Getty Images
The International Rugby Board has announced that an unnamed player at this year's Rugby World Cup failed a drugs test and has been provisionally suspended.
The player, whose identity has been withheld due to confidentiality provisions until the case is heard, was the only individual to produce an "adverse analytical finding" with the substance in question identified as a prohibited painkiller. The player, whose side exited the tournament at the pool stage, has been informed of the findings and has been banned from playing until the outcome of a hearing, which is pending.
IRB anti-doping manager Tim Ricketts has hailed the success of the widespread testing programme that incorporated a record total of 216 urine and 76 blood samples. In a statement, he said: "The IRB and its Member Unions operate a zero-tolerance policy towards doping in Rugby and this comprehensive testing programme administered across the 20 teams both before and during the Tournament underscores our collaborative commitment in this pivotal area of the Game.
"The one adverse finding also demonstrates that education is key, even for painkillers, and we will continue to work in partnership with our Member Unions to ensure that players, coaches and medical staff have access to the best-possible educational resources and take greater responsibility for what they consume and administer."
Even before a ball was kicked at the tournament, the 20 participating teams had undergone an extensive programme of Out of Competition testing that included urine and blood controls to screen for banned substances including EPO and Human Growth Hormone (hGH).
The inaugural Rugby World Cup Keep Rugby Clean Day was also held on September 25 and was supported by all the teams, match officials and administrators by the wearing of branded t-shirts carrying the Keep Rugby Clean message.
World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) director general David Howman, who attended the IRB Anti-Doping Advisory Committee meeting in New Zealand, was impressed with the programme and the IRB's proactive stance to drug awareness and education.
"Rugby is one of the sports that have been at the forefront of the fight against drugs in sport and the IRB and its Member Unions operate extensive testing programmes and should be commended," he said. "The IRB has done extremely well setting up its own doping programme, which was recently reaffirmed as being compliant to the World Anti-Doping code."
The IRB will publish the full 2011 Anti-Doping results in the New Year while in related news, IRB Keep Rugby Clean Ambassador and Argentina international Felipe Contepomi has been appointed to the WADA Athlete Committee.
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