July 31, 2007
The Rugby Football Union has been delivering its anti-doping message to the coaches of the country's leading teenage rugby talent.
This summer the RFU has delivered presentations at 16 Teach the Teacher coach development days for sides taking part in the Daily Mail Schools Cup competitions next season.
The Daily Mail competitions involve around 1,000 Under-18 and Under-15 teams and more than 500 coaches attended the 20-minute anti-doping seminars run in partnership with UK Sport as part of the 100% ME education campaign.
Each of the teachers received an anti-doping DVD and pamphlets to help them understand the key issues facing young players such as the risks of using supplements and details of how to access up-to-date technical information.
"A key part of our education strategy is raising awareness of anti-doping among support staff, particularly coaches and teachers," said Gavin Dovey, the RFU's anti-doping officer.
"These people have the biggest influence over players so making them aware of the key issues and the 100% ME campaign is critical in ensuring young players are given the right message and accurate advice by those closest to them.
"We've received tremendous support from UK Sport who has provided 100% ME accredited anti-doping tutors to help deliver some of the presentations."
Dovey joined the RFU from the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority last December and is responsible for the union's testing and education programme.
The RFU's vision is to create a generation of rugby players who have confidence in their ability to succeed without the use of prohibited substances or methods and to create a sporting environment where doping is not tolerated.
Integrity, fairness, equity and respect are essential to success in rugby and the RFU aims to protect the spirit of rugby from being undermined by doping and to protect the fundamental right of players to participate in doping-free sport.
The RFU anti-doping education also includes a programme of 100% ME Outreach Zones set up at age-group festivals, representative tournaments and summer rugby camps.
Coach Development Officer Gary Townsend ran the development days at Wellington College in Berkshire and St John's College in Southsea.
He said: "The 100% ME presentation was received very well and has raised the awareness of those teachers of rugby who attended the two days, with participants feeling more able and better equipped to advise parents and players.
"The 100% ME message, combined with exceptional coaching presentations from people like Geoff Moon (Bristol Rugby) and Matt Sherratt (Worcester Warriors) clearly demonstrated that coaches can get the best out of players and players the best out of themselves without the need to use performance enhancing substances."
UK Sport Education Manager Allison Holloway added: "We are delighted with the enthusiasm and energy with which the RFU has embraced all aspects of the 100% ME programme.
"Only through a collaborative approach to education can we hope to succeed in ensuring that all athletes and athlete support personnel are informed of their responsibilities and the values of drug-free sport."