Matt Stevens (rugby union)

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Matt Stevens
Matt Stevens (9996825915) (cropped).jpg
Full nameMatthew John Hamilton Stevens
Date of birth (1982-10-01) 1 October 1982 (age 37)
Place of birthDurban, South Africa
Height1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Weight122 kg (19 st 3 lb; 269 lb)
SchoolKearsney College
UniversityUniversity of Bath
Rugby union career
Position(s) Prop
Current team Toulon
Youth Career
2002 Western Province
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
2002–2009 Bath 120 (60)
2010–2014 Saracens 13 (10)
2014–2015 Sharks (Currie Cup) 10 (0)
2015 Sharks 8 (0)
2015–present Toulon 7 (0)
Correct as of 14 June 2015
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2004–2012 England 39 (0)
2005, 2013 British and Irish Lions 0 (0)
Correct as of 8 May 2015

Matthew John Hamilton Stevens (born 1 October 1982) is a rugby union player who plays for Toulon in France's Top 14 and won 39 caps for England between 2004 and 2012. Born in Durban, South Africa, to English parents, he can play in both prop positions, and most of his England appearances were at tighthead.

In 2009 he was banned from the game for two years for using cocaine, following a positive drugs test.

Early life[edit]

Stevens was born on 1 October 1982 in Durban, South Africa. He was educated at Kearsney College in KwaZulu-Natal and played his youth rugby in South Africa. He earned representative honours for Western Province, South African Universities and the Junior Springboks at Under 18 and Under 19 level, before deciding to move to England to pursue his university studies.[1]

Club career[edit]

He joined Bath in September 2002[2] and gained attention towards the end of the 2002–2003 season, making five appearances as a substitute. He put in strong performances coming off the bench for Bath early in the following season as the pack dominated all opposition.

He featured in Bath's successful drive to the top of the Zürich Premiership table in 2003–2004 and in March 2004 he was selected ahead of Jason Leonard as a replacement in England's Six Nations game against Ireland at Twickenham.

Stevens was known for popping up in the back line during matches for Bath, and has quite a turn of pace for a front-rower.

In January 2008, Stevens signed a four-year contract with Bath that would have kept him at the club until the end of the 2011–2012 season.[3]

However, on 20 January 2009 it was confirmed Stevens had failed a drug test after Bath's Heineken Cup match against Glasgow the previous month. He was withdrawn from the England 6 nations squad for the 2009 tournament and suspended by Bath RFC.[4] He was banned from rugby for two years on 26 February 2009 after testing positive for cocaine,[5] and on 5 March announced that he was quitting his club before they sacked him.[6]

In January 2010, it was announced that Stevens would sign for Saracens upon the completion of his ban.[7] In his first season back, Stevens started for the Sarries side that defeated Leicester Tigers in the 2010–11 Aviva Premiership final.[8]

In February 2014, it was revealed that Stevens would return to South Africa after the conclusion of the 2013–14 English Premiership season to join the Sharks in August of that year on a two-year deal.[9]

On 18 June 2015, Stevens made his move to France to join with European champions Toulon in the Top 14 from the 2015–2016 season.[10]

International career[edit]

In 2003, Stevens, who qualified for England by virtue of his English parents, played for England U21s in the IRB Under 21 World Cup, which was held in Oxfordshire. He soon drew the attention of the England senior team selectors and was selected for the 2004 summer tour to New Zealand and Australia. He won his first two caps as a substitute in the Tests against the All Blacks but a knee injury meant he was unavailable for the test against Australia in Brisbane.

He was in the England team for the 2005 Six Nations, and was one of the better performers in England's disappointing campaign. He was selected for the 2005 British and Irish Lions tour[11] and featured in six games, though he did not play in any of the Test matches.

During the 2006 Six Nations Championship he suffered a shoulder injury that required two operations and kept him out of the game for nearly a year; he did not return to international duty until England's mid-year tour to South Africa in June 2007.

Stevens was in England's squad for the 2007 Rugby World Cup.[12] He played in the three warm-up games, against Wales and France and featured in all England's games during the tournament, starting in three of the pool games and coming off the bench in the other games.

He was a replacement in England's loss to Wales in the first game of the 2008 Six Nations Championship and started in the second game, against Italy.

He was chosen in the 37-man squad for the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour to Australia.[13]

Personal life[edit]

In 2006, Stevens appeared on The X Factor: Battle of the Stars on ITV. He was mentored by Sharon Osbourne and reached the final only to be defeated by Eastenders star Lucy Benjamin.[14] Due to his appearance on the show, he raised over £125,000 for the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and in October 2006 he was invited to meet the statesman in Johannesburg. [15]

He holds a BSc in politics with economics from the University of Bath.

While serving his ban, Stevens worked in the coffee house he part owns with Lee Mears. [16]

He is currently General Manager at Boschendal Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, Cape Town.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Matt Stevens England Profile". 1 December 2008. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 5 March 2009.
  2. ^ "Sa U21 Is Latest Addition To Academy". Bath Rugby. 5 September 2002. Retrieved 5 August 2011.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Stevens signs new Bath contract". BBC Sport. 1 February 2008. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
  4. ^ "England's Stevens fails drug test". BBC Sport. 21 January 2009. Retrieved 21 January 2009.
  5. ^ "Prop Stevens handed two-year ban". BBC Sport. 26 February 2009. Retrieved 26 February 2009.
  6. ^ Tallentire, Mark (5 March 2009). "Stevens to quit Bath before he is sacked". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 5 March 2009.
  7. ^ "Matt Stevens to sign for Saracens". Saracens. 25 January 2010. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
  8. ^ "Leicester 18–22 Saracens". BBC Sport. 28 May 2011. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
  9. ^ "Sharks confirm Stevens signing". Sport24. 18 February 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  10. ^ "Toulon sign former England prop Matt Stevens". SMH. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  11. ^ "Lions Squad". BBC Sport. 11 April 2005. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
  12. ^ "Tindall & Hodgson miss World Cup". BBC Sport. 13 August 2007. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
  13. ^ Paul Rees (30 April 2013). "Jonny Wilkinson turned down Lions chance, says Warren Gatland". London: Guardian. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  14. ^ "Soap star wins celebrity X Factor". The BBC. 6 June 2006. Retrieved 5 March 2009.
  15. ^ Cleary, Mick (27 September 2007). "Matt Stevens must show World Cup X Factor". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 5 March 2009..
  16. ^ Harper, Tom (11 October 2009). "Matt Stevens serves Coffee in new day job". London: The Daily Mail.

External links[edit]