PRA backs Stevens return

Drugs ban is 'ultimate deterrent' says players' body

By Simon Dilger.   Last Updated: 27/02/09 12:13am

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Stevens: Support

Stevens: Support

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The Professional Rugby Players' Association has backed Matt Stevens to bounce back from his drugs ban.

"Knowing Matt's optimistic outlook, I have no doubt that he will conquer his illness in due course and make a successful return to the game."
Damian Hopley Quotes of the week

The Bath and England prop was handed a two year suspension from the sport by the ERC after testing positive for cocaine in December.

Damian Hopley, chief executive of the players' body, said the ban should be a warning to others about the consequences of using banned substances in sport.

Hopley however, added that he was confident the 26-year-old would return to professional rugby and pledged the PRA's support in helping him overcome his drug problem.

In a statement on behalf of the PRA, he said: "Matt has paid a very heavy price by losing two prime years of his career.

"Today's news serves as the ultimate deterrent to any players who find themselves exposed to any banned substances.

"Whilst strongly reaffirming the PRA's condemnation of the use of performance-enhancing and recreational drugs, we will continue to do everything we can to provide Matt with the support he needs during his rehabilitation period.

"Knowing Matt's optimistic outlook, I have no doubt that he will conquer his illness in due course and make a successful return to the game."

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