Stevens: I'm quitting Bath
Disgraced prop to leave after he was banned for failing a drugs test
Last Updated: 05/03/09 1:10pm
Stevens: Quitting Bath
Disgraced England prop Matt Stevens has confirmed he is to quit Bath after he was banned for failing a drugs test.
The 26-year-old is unable to play again until January 18, 2011 after he tested positive for cocaine following Bath's Heineken Cup win over Glasgow.
Stevens, who has three years left to run on his current deal at The Rec, had been due to face his bosses at Bath at an internal hearing.
However he has decided to leave the club before they sack him.
"I have to do the honourable thing," Stevens told The Times. "I am quitting before they sack me. I want to spare the club who have been so good to me.
"I can't thank the coaches enough for the support they have shown me, and the players. Everyone has been magnificent. Again I can only say how sorry I am at letting people down."
The two-year ban covers all levels of rugby, including playing, coaching and even promoting the sport.
And Stevens, who won 32 England caps, believes the pressure of professional rugby contributed to his downfall.
"That was the worst," he said. "I would end up binge-drinking and then looking for oblivion somewhere else.
"Coupled with the personal stuff and the actual pressure of rugby, it sometimes felt easy just to lose myself.
"I can't believe I would do that to myself. I am a confident, ambitious, social person. That I would be addicted to anything is completely incomprehensible to me right now.
"On the surface everything was fine, but who knows what goes on inside anyone else? I am in all outward appearances a happy person.
"But I was struggling to meet expectations, and I wasn't meeting them because I was doing cocaine. It was a vicious circle. It would always be at the end of a drinking binge - do coke, hate myself, vow never to do it again and then do so."
Bath chief executive Bob Calleja has insisted there is some light at the end of the tunnel for the disgraced star, though.
"He's shown quite a lot of integrity and is also facing up to the responsibility of what lies ahead," Calleja told Sky Sports News.
"I think he is putting on a brave face at the moment and he's got one or two things to distract him at present, but two years is a long time.
"After two years if he is still fit, keen to play and return then of course we would consider having him back."