Tuesday, November 24, 2009
The rigours of international rugby take their toll on each player in a different way. One man who couldnt handle the pressure is now getting used to life off the field, away from the sport he loves. No Lions tour. No England internationals. No rugby.
Bath prop Matt Stevens was suspended in January this year after he admitted to taking cocaine. He was banned from the sport for 2 years, and will only be back in action in January of 2011.
He will be out of the game for a long time, and many have questioned if the 27 year old will even have a career at all when he finally comes back.
Former England captain Lawrence Dallaglio has openly criticised Stevens' club, Bath, for not showing the 32 times England capped prop enough support.
"No one condones the use of recreational drugs in any way whatsoever in sport, but a player I think should be given help by his rugby club rather than booted out," Dallaglio said after offering Stevens an informal contract at Wasps.
Bath have since shown interest, as earlier this week they said that theyd like to have him back.
"I've spoken to Matt about where he sees his future and what he'd like to do. We'd love him to come back to us and I have made that clear," explained Bath chief executive Nick Blofeld.
"I may not have been at the club for very long, but in that time it's clear that Matt's presence at the club has been missed both on and off the pitch.
"He is a big character with strong leadership skills and a lot of charm. It therefore came as a shock to everyone when the news broke and we had no precedent when it came to dealing with it.
"Matt has kept very fit and has even become a Brazilian Ju Jitsu Champion, which is an extraordinary feat and demonstrates again his drive and determination to succeed," he added.
Stevens is currently spending all his time running a coffee shop with former teamate Lee Mears, as well as learning martial arts. He's welcomed his club's the positive outlook on the situation.
"I'm very pleased that Bath have spoken to me and said they'd like me to come back," he admitted.
"It's obviously early days for my future rugby career but Bath and the rugby club are obviously still a big part of my life and I'll give it very serious consideration."
This interesting interview gives us an insight into what it's been like for the disgraced prop, and we finally get to hear exactly what drove him to breaking down and doing what he did.