All doping tests negative at Rugby World Cup
Oct 11, 2007, 15:59 GMT
Paris - Organizers of the Rugby World Cup announced on Thursday that all doping tests undertaken at the tournament had returned a negative result.
In a statement released by the controlling body, the International Rugby Board (IRB) they said that 176 tests had been conducted with two players per team tested at all 44 tournament matches that have been played to date.
'The Anti-Doping programme for RWC 2007 has been the most extensive in the history of Rugby World Cup. The Tournament testing programme has comprised four tests from each match and an Out of Competition blood testing programme, the first for a RWC,' said IRB Anti-Doping Manager, Tim Ricketts.
'Blood testing in Rugby occurred for the first time at the 2006 Commonwealth Games Rugby Sevens Tournament in Melbourne and the IRB believes it is one of the first international sports governing bodies to collect blood serum Out of Competition, which has seen five players from each of the semi-finalists tested over the past two days in their hotels. The blood testing was well received by the players and their team management,' he said.
The IRB last year established a Blood Test Working Group to run a thorough investigation into blood testing, including methods and prohibited substances that can be detected in blood, and its relation to Rugby.
The decision to test at RWC 2007 was driven by the research of the working group in consultation with relevant experts in the field and WADA (the World Anti Doping Agency) over the past 12 months.
Ricketts said that blood samples collected will be tested for Haemoglobin Based Oxygen Carriers (HBOCs). 'While no analysis procedure for human growth hormone currently exists, samples will be stored at the WADA accredited laboratory in Paris until such a test is available, which WADA predicts will be within the next 12 months.'
The statement said that the IRB signed up to the WADA code in 2004 and has a close working relationship with the agency. WADA currently contributes to the IRB's testing programme conducting an additional 40-50 tests annually on players in the IRB's registered testing pool.
Earlier this year WADA President Dick Pound singled out the IRB for its comprehensive testing programme and firm stance in the fight against doping in sport.
In the period 2004-2006 the IRB handed down suspensions to 14 players for returning positive tests for a variety of prohibited substances including performance enhancing and recreational drugs. These sanctions are in addition to 136 cases determined by Member Unions. The IRB adopts a supervisory role over the disciplinary process of Member Unions and since 2005 has successfully referred a number of cases to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur