Bath shocked by Stevens

Prop's interview overshadows build-up to massive Heineken Cup clash

Last Updated: 21/01/09 1:33pm

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Stevens: Suspended from rugby

Stevens: Suspended from rugby

Sky Bet

Bath admit they feel "let down" by Matt Stevens after he confessed to failing a drugs test.

The England prop told Sky Sports News on Tuesday that he had failed a test taken after a Heineken Cup clash with Glasgow in December.

Stevens, capped 32 times, has now been suspended from all rugby and has been removed from the England Elite Player Squad.

The 26-year-old has already started counselling sessions. He is set to face a disciplinary hearing and could be handed a two-year ban.

Shocked

"I was absolutely shocked. It is devastating news - something we could have done without," Bath chief executive Bob Calleja said. "We all feel let down."

The shock news has overshadowed the Guinness Premiership club's preparations for Sunday's massive Heineken Cup clash with Toulouse.

Bath will clinch top spot in Pool Five, and a place in the quarter-finals of the competition, if they beat the French giants at The Rec.

Reading from a prepared statement, Calleja added "This week should have been all about the anticipation of a classic winner-takes-all match at the Rec. Instead, the headlines have been dominated by Matt Stevens.

"The club was informed by ERC, the Heineken Cup organisers, on Monday evening that Matt had failed a drugs test of a sample taken after the Glasgow match on December 14.

"The club immediately informed Matt of this and, in accordance with International Rugby Board regulations, suspended the player, such suspension to remain in force until the disciplinary process, as laid out in the ERC competition regulations, has been completed.

"On Tuesday, Matt was interviewed by Sky Sports and admitted to having taken a banned recreational substance, consistent with the findings of the drugs test.

Suspended

"Matt remains suspended from the club pending the completion of disciplinary processes.

"This is a very serious matter, and the club does not, and will not, condone the use of illegal recreational or performance-enhancing drugs by any of its employees.

"But it must also ensure that disciplinary processes are fairly conducted and allowed to reach their proper conclusion.

"Only then will the club make another public statement on the matter."

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