Hopley reveals Stevens shock

Doping 'very out of character' according to PRA chief

Last Updated: 20/01/09 7:05pm

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Hopley: Shocked

Hopley: Shocked

Sky Bet

Professional Rugby Players Association CEO Damian Hopley admits he is 'shocked' by the news that England prop Matt Stevens has failed a drugs test.

MATT STEVENS FACTFILE 1982: October 1 - Born in Durban, South Africa. 2002: September - Joins Bath. Had previously learnt his trade at Kearsney College in his homeland and played for the Springboks at U18 and U19 level. 2003: Plays for England in the World U21 Championships. December - Replaces the injured Phil Vickery in the England XV for the non-capped match against New Zealand Barbarians at Twickenham and scores a try. 2004: June 12 - Makes his full England debut as a substitute against New Zealand in Dunedin. 2005: February 27 - Makes first start for England in an RBS Six Nations clash with Ireland at Lansdowne Road, aged 22. 2007: September to October - Plays in all seven of England's matches as they make it through to the Rugby World Cup final. 2009: January 20 - It is revealed Stevens failed a drugs test after a Heineken Cup match against Glasgow Warriors in December 2008.

Stevens, who has 32 caps for England, admitted to Sky Sports News that he has a doping addiction, and has been suspended from all rugby as a result.

The Bath player had been due to fly to Portugal with the England team on Sunday as they prepare for the upcoming 2009 Six Nations Championship.

However, after failing a drugs test following Bath's Heineken Cup match against Glasgow Warriors in December 2008, Stevens has now revealed his addiction to an unnamed social drug.

"We are shocked by this news, which is very out of character for Matt," said Hopley.

"He had built a reputation as a fine ambassador for the game, who does a tremendous amount of voluntary work for a number of charities and good causes.

"We will be doing everything we can to provide Matt with the support he needs at this very difficult time.

"The PRA and our members strongly condemn the use of performance enhancing or recreational drugs, and fully support the RFU and IRB anti-doping regulations."

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