Reaffirming its continued commitment to the fight against drug cheats in sport and keeping Rugby clean, suspensions have been handed down to players from Ukraine (3), South Africa, Poland and Fiji as well as a team manager from Ukraine.
The IRB carried out 1542 tests both in and out of competition in 2012, across all IRB tournaments and events, including the HSBC Sevens World Series, Rugby World Cup 2015 qualifiers, men's and women's Tests and Age Grade Rugby.
The programme saw a total of 21 anti-doping rule violation cases, equating to 1.36 percent of the IRB's entire programme. The IRB also remains committed to blood testing, both in and out of competition, and has conducted 521 blood tests since it began the tests at the Rugby World Cup in France in 2007.
IRB Anti-Doping Manager for Testing and Education, Ilaria Baudo, said: "From an early age, players need to understand the dangers and consequences of doping. They are solely responsible for any prohibited substance found in their body regardless of intent or fault."
"Education is key. The IRB has put in place a comprehensive education programme which continues to evolve on www.keeprugbyclean.com. Our latest e-learning programme was launched in June and highlights the dangers and consequences of doping."
"The IRB operates a zero tolerance policy on doping. Education and intelligent testing protects the game and its core values from drug-cheaters and ensures a level playing field for future generations of players," she added.
The IRB also focused on increased educational programmes in 2012, including the delivery of Keep Rugby Clean awareness campaigns at IRB age grade events, targeting over 1,000 players during the year.
1. South Africa Sevens player Rachelle Geldenhuys received a nine month sanction following her use of cannabis prior to her participation in the Dubai Sevens. This is another stark warning to players to avoid the use of cannabis even in a social environment as it is proven that the residue of the drug can stay in the system for a number of weeks after use.
2. Ukrainian national player Roman Kulakivskiy was banned for 3 years after he tested positive for Anabolic Steroids Metenolone and Stanozolol during an out-of-competition test.
3. Ukrainian national players Serhii Sukhikh and Oleg Lytvynenko were each sanctioned for 2 years in relation to tampering offences. Mr.Sukhikh's sanction also related to failure to submit a sample. His ability to perpetrate this deception was facilitated by Ukraine national team manager Bogdan Zhulavskyi, who was given a 4 year ban from the game. This case highlights the fact that it not just players who are subject to anti-doping rules, but also team management, coaches and medics.
4. Following an in-competition test after a European Nations Cup Division 1B match, Polish national player Marcin Wilczuk tested positive for cocaine and was sanctioned for 2 years. This case is a reminder to all that it is the player's personal duty to insure that no prohibited substances enters their bodies and that the principal of strict liability applies in all cases.
5. The IRB has handed down a 2 year suspension to Fijian player Aisake Katonibau for failure to comply with a request to provide a sample. It is a reminder to those involved in the Game that failure to comply with the request to provide a sample may be considered an anti-doping rule violation.