Afrika named IRB ambassador
Cape Town - South Africa's Cecil Afrika
, the IRB Sevens Player of the Year, has been unveiled as the new IRB Keep Rugby Clean Ambassador for Rugby Sevens.
Afrika is in his third season for the Springbok Sevens team and was singled out in 2011 as the finest Sevens exponent in the world after starring on the Sevens World Series.
He follows Samoa's Uale Mai and Kenya's Humphrey Kayange in becoming Rugby Sevens' third Anti-Doping ambassador.
“I am absolutely delighted to be a part of this important initiative. I have learnt that there is no shortcut to success - it takes a lot of hard work, hours of training, dedication, commitment and self belief to achieve your goals," said Afrika.
“I am looking forward to be involved in this project and to contribute in whatever way to keep Rugby Sevens clean.”
The International Rugby Board conducted its largest ever testing programme in 2011 with 1702 tests, of which 489 were carried out on the Sevens Game, up from 407 in 2010. Two-hundred-and-seventy-four of those were conducted out-of-competition and 215 were conducted during competition. A 100% clean record was recorded for Sevens, which continues to expand its global following as it prepares to make its Olympic debut in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.
The Sevens testing programme is set to increase again in 2012 as qualifying tournaments for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 begin across all IRB regions.
"The IRB and its member unions operate a zero-tolerance policy towards drugs cheats in Rugby and our comprehensive testing programme across Rugby Sevens underscores rugby's commitment in this critical area of the game. The 100% clean record for Sevens in 2011 is a reflection of this and is also a testament to the players and their unions, who are well educated and supportive of drug free Rugby," said IRB Anti-Doping Manager, Tim Ricketts.
"We are thrilled to have one of the genuine stars of the game in Cecil Afrika
come on board and lend his support to keeping Sevens clean. He's well respected among the players and loved by the fans and we're sure he will continue to do his very best for rugby both on and off the pitch."
Afrika and his Springbok Sevens team-mates will resume their Sevens World Series duties on 3 and 4 February in Wellington and they will also defend their USA title a week later in Las Vegas.
SARU will announce the Springbok Sevens squad on Tuesday afternoon during a press conference at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport.