The climax of the Women's Rugby World Cup 2010 pool stages
on Saturday doubles as Keep Rugby Clean Day when all players, team
management, officials and tournament organisers will wear special
t-shirts to promote the International Rugby Board's campaign to
keep drugs out of the sport.
Some of the biggest names in Rugby have given their support to the Keep Rugby Clean campaign, including current Ambassadors Felipe Contepomi of Argentina, French speedster Vincent Clerc, Samoa Sevens star Uale Mai, South Africa's Rugby World Cup 2007 winner Bryan Habana, James Hook of Wales and Australia's George Smith.
For the first time, there are now two female Ambassadors who have given their support to the campaign in New Zealand wing Carla Hohepa and Canada flyer and Olympic bobsleigh champion Heather Moyse.
Hohepa and Moyse have been two standout players at Women's Rugby World Cup 2010, scoring four tries a piece to help New Zealand and Canada sit top of their respective pools and within touching distance of the semi finals, and both are honoured and flattered to support the campaign.
"First of all I was flattered and I felt really honoured," admitted Moyse, the leading try scorer at Women's Rugby World Cup 2006. "But before accepting I wanted to make sure that I was actually going to be on the World Cup squad and to be able to represent my country again.
A vital message
"I feel privileged to send this message because it's something I've felt strongly about for a long time."
"It doesn't matter to be me who else is up on the poster and it doesn't even matter that I'm up on the posters. To me what matters is that the message is being sent out to teams, which will then be transcended down to youth and development and I think that's the most important thing.
"I think it is really important for the development. No country likes a bad rep, no sporting federation wants a red X by their title or their name and I think that it's important to not only send that message but also you can see that the follow through is here.
"There is testing every game day as I've seen, it was the same thing at the last World Cup and I think it has stepped up even more here and it's comforting to know that I myself will be playing against other athletes who are clean.
"The more doping control there is out there and the more apparent it is the more confident I will be that it is a fair game. It's fair for everybody and if I beat them then I know I've beaten them clean and if they've beaten me then I know I have nothing to complain about except my own work that's gone into it.
"I'm excited at where this programme is going."
Hohepa, who scored the tournament's first hat-trick against South Africa on day one, is equally committed to the programme and sending out the message that there is no place in sport for doping.
"It's an honour of course to be an Ambassador," explained the 25-year-old, the leading try scorer at the inaugural Women's Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 in Dubai. "It's all about keeping an even playing field out there and making sure that everyone is giving 100 percent naturally.
"For me it's just about being 100 percent pure Kiwi ... a natural talent.
"There is so much great talent out there and to know that it's drug free talent is even better and an awesome women's sport. So many people have natural talent out there and we don't want people taking drugs into sport to take their place."
The two Ambassadors, along with their teammates and the other participating nations at Women's Rugby World Cup 2010 have all taken part in the IRB's Outreach programme, which is now in its eighth year and designed to increase anti-doping awareness among players of all ages. To date this programme has been to delivered to 7,400 players at IRB tournaments.
Video - Keep Rugby Clean at WRWC
The sessions, carried out by the IRB's Anti-Doping Co-ordinator Ilaria Baudo, warn players about the risks of taking contaminated supplements and ensures they are well versed in the anti-doping process and aware of the dangers of social drugs.
At the end of the individual team sessions, the players have to complete a short anti-doping quiz and are then presented with their Keep Rugby Clean t-shirts, which all teams will wear during the warm up for the crucial matches as the pool stages come to an enthralling climax.
With her bobsleighing exploits over the last two years, Moyse is
no stranger to anti-doping education as well as regular testing,
but she is under no illusions as to the importance of such face to
face education for teams.
"I think it was really good for our team actually to just have someone physically present and be able to answer some of the questions that they have," explained Moyse.
"Some of them seemed to be simple questions or things that are assumed and not necessarily known for sure and it was good to have that person there for one on one or not even one on one but just immediate and direct feedback.
"For our rugby team, definitely that is the first time that it's actually been a formal session like that. I mean you are kind of aware of it and certain people are drug tested randomly ... but dope testing I guess hasn't happened frequently enough to be at the forefront of people's minds.
"You just don't think about it because you're going about your daily routine, you're doing all of these things and it's good to make people aware of the things that can happen, even accidentally without them knowing it.
"To be honest I think that sometimes it's the development of those ones that are on the cusp of making it or not making it that are really the ones being put pressure on, either by themselves or whether they feel it as an external pressure source or not.
"It is their ultimate decision and I think the more they
realise what happens if you are caught, you know the sanction and
the two-year ban and all that stuff that comes along with a
positive test, the less likely they will take a negative choice I
To see all of the Keep Rugby Clean Ambassadors or to view anti-doping educational resources or information, go to the IRB's anti-doping website.