Thu, Jan 22, 2009 - Page 18 News List

England rugby star suspended after positive drugs test

AGENCIES , LONDON

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 last month, 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.

Stevens admitted in a television interview that he was attending counselling sessions.

“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,” he said. “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,” he said. “I want to change my life and hopefully one day get the faith back that people had in me.”

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