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England prop Stevens suspended

21/01/2009 07:47:32 AM Comments (0)

England and Bath prop Matt Stevens has been suspended with immediate effect after failing a drug test, it was revealed on Tuesday.

The South African-born 26-year-old failed the test - not for performance enhancing drugs - following Bath's European Cup clash with Glasgow in December, the English Rugby Football Union (RFU) announced.

Bath released a statement saying that there was no option under the terms of his contract - he signed a fresh four-year one last February - but to suspend him.

"Bath Rugby has been made aware of the initial positive test given by Matt Stevens following the Heineken Cup match against Glasgow Warriors in December.

"The procedure for potential doping offences is clearly laid out in both the player's contract and the European Rugby Cup Regulations. The player is immediately suspended from competition and has been suspended by Bath Rugby until the case is resolved.

"Bath Rugby condemns the use or distribution of prohibited substances or methods as defined by the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List."

Stevens intimated that the problem had spiralled out of control.

"I was tested for a prohibited substance but it's not performance enhancing, so you can take what you want from that," Stevens told Sky Sports in an interview.

"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 added: "It started off with just a couple of nights where you take it after a big night out with your friends.

"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.

Stevens' absence will come as a major blow ahead of Bath's European Cup table-topping decider against French giants Toulouse this weekend.

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