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Anti-doping theme a weekend focus in Japan: Keep Rugby Clean

TOKYO (AP) — The anti-doping message will be spelled out clearly at the Rugby World Cup this weekend when all 620 players as well as match officials and management of all 20 teams wear their Keep Rugby Clean t-shirts at games and public events in Japan.

World Rugby said the weekend was a key education strategy to deter doping, assist players in making informed ethical decisions, and promote the importance of healthy approaches to medication and nutrition.

All teams at the Rugby World Cup have been subjected to a pre-event testing, with programs for each country coordinated with national anti-doping agencies. Blood, urine and biological passport tests have been conducted at a combination of training sessions, players’ homes, team hotels and matches.

"Doping is the biggest threat to the integrity of sport and the fight against doping begins with education,” World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said in a statement Friday. “Rugby is a sport built on strong character-building values of respect, integrity, passion, discipline and solidarity and every player has the right to complete on a level playing field. Keep Rugby Clean weekend is a key element of our education strategy to deter doping and promote the importance of a maintaining a healthy, balanced diet."

There are some big matches across the third weekend of the tournament, kicking off Friday night with two-time South Africa against Italy in Pool B.

On Saturday, England and Argentina meet in Tokyo, Japan is aiming to clinch a quarterfinal spot for the first time with a win over Samoa at Toyota, and Australia is against Uruguay at Oita.

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More AP Rugby World Cup: https://www.apnews.com/RugbyWorldCup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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