Matt Stevens (rugby union)
|Full name||Matthew John Hamilton Stevens|
|Date of birth||1 October 1982|
|Place of birth||Durban, South Africa|
|Height||1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|Weight||122 kg (19 st 3 lb)|
|University||University of Bath|
|Rugby union career|
He can cover both sides of the scrum and most of his England caps have come at tighthead. He formerly played for Bath Rugby club. In 2009 after a positive drugs test, he was banned from the game for two years.
Stevens was educated at Kearsney College, South Africa and played his youth rugby in that country, earning 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.
He joined Bath in September 2002 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.
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 He was withdrawn from the England 6 nations squad for the 2009 tournament and suspended by Bath RFC. He was banned from rugby for two years on 26 February 2009 after testing positive for cocaine, and on 5 March announced that he was quitting his club before they sacked him.
In January 2010, it was announced that Stevens would sign for Saracens upon the completion of his ban. In his first season back, Stevens started for the Sarries side that defeated Leicester Tigers in the 2010–11 Aviva Premiership final.
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.
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 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. 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.
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. 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.
He holds a BSc in politics with economics from the University of Bath.
- Cleary, Mick (19 January 2011). "Saracens' Matt Stevens greeted by doping testers on his return to rugby after two-year drugs ban". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- "Matt Stevens England Profile". 1 December 2008. Retrieved 5 March 2009.
- "Sa U21 Is Latest Addition To Academy". Bath Rugby. 5 September 2002. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
- "Stevens signs new Bath contract". BBC Sport. 1 February 2008. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
- "England's Stevens fails drug test". BBC Sport. 21 January 2009. Retrieved 21 January 2009.
- "Prop Stevens handed two-year ban". BBC Sport. 26 February 2009. Retrieved 26 February 2009.
- Tallentire, Mark (5 March 2009). "Stevens to quit Bath before he is sacked". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 5 March 2009.
- "Matt Stevens to sign for Saracens". Saracens. 25 January 2010. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
- "Leicester 18–22 Saracens". BBC Sport. 28 May 2011. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
- "Sharks confirm Stevens signing". Sport24. 18 February 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
- "Toulon sign former England prop Matt Stevens". SMH. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
- "Lions Squad". BBC Sport. 11 April 2005. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
- "Tindall & Hodgson miss World Cup". BBC Sport. 13 August 2007. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
- Paul Rees (30 April 2013). "Jonny Wilkinson turned down Lions chance, says Warren Gatland". London: Guardian. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
- "Soap star wins celebrity X Factor". The BBC. 6 June 2006. Retrieved 5 March 2009.
- Cleary, Mick (27 September 2007). "Matt Stevens must show World Cup X Factor". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 5 March 2009.
- Harper, Tom (11 October 2009). "Matt Stevens serves Coffee in new day job". London: The Daily Mail.