Matt Stevens tests positive for a banned substance
Stevens has been removed from England’s Elite Player Squad with immediate effect, and so will not be going to the training camp in Portugal next month. He has also been suspended by Bath will be potentially unavailable for the summers British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa
Stevens confessed to his misdemeanour in an interview with Sky News.
“I was tested for a prohibited substance but it’s not performance enhancing, so you can take what you want from that,” he said.
“It’s pretty distressing talking about this. When you think about how much time people have put into my career and I have thrown it away.
“Like any drug problem you don’t know it’s happening and then it mounts up and before you know it you have a problem and an illness.”
Stevens did not specify which drug he had tested positive for, but hinted further at habitual use.
“It started off with just a couple of nights where you take it after a big night out with your friends,” he said.
“It wasn’t a big deal, (but) that’s the problem with drugs, it so quickly becomes a big deal.
“I owe it to everyone to admit that. I want to say I’m truly very sorry.
“I want to change my life and hopefully one day get the faith back that people had in me.”
The Professional Rugby Players’ Association pledged its support for Stevens in a time of need.
“We are shocked by this news, which is very out of character for Matt. He had built a reputation as a fine ambassador for the game, who does a tremendous amount of voluntary work for a number of charities and good causes,” said England PRA CEO Damien Hopley.
“We will be doing everything we can to provide Matt with the support he needs at this very difficult time. The PRA and our members strongly condemn the use of performance enhancing or recreational drugs, and fully support the RFU and iRB anti-doping regulations.”
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