England prop Matt Stevens has revealed he has failed a drugs test.
The 26-year-old made the announcement in an interview with Sky Sports News.
Stevens said: “I was tested for a prohibited substance but it’s not performance enhancing, so you can take what you want from that.
“It’s pretty distressing talking about this. When you think about how much time people have put into my career and I have thrown it away.
“Like any drug problem you don’t know it’s happening and then it mounts up and before you know it you have a problem and an illness.”
Stevens did not specify which drug he had tested positive for, but added: “It started off with just a couple of nights where you take it after a big night out with your friends.
“It wasn’t a big deal, (but) that’s the problem with drugs, it so quickly becomes a big deal.
“I owe it to everyone to admit that. I want to say I’m truly very sorry.
“I want to change my life and hopefully one day get the faith back that people had in me.”
Stevens has been suspended from all competition and removed from the England Elite Player Squad.
A statement from the Rugby Football Union read: “The Rugby Football Union has been made aware by European Rugby Cup (Ltd) of the positive doping test given by Matt Stevens following the Heineken Cup match against Glasgow Warriors in December 2008.
“The procedure for potential doping offences is clearly laid out in the ERC Regulations and as such the player is immediately provisionally suspended from all competition.
“Matt has been removed from the England Elite Player Squad and will not travel to the training camp in Portugal on Sunday or be involved in the squad until the resolution of the case when a further decision on his inclusion in the England squad will be made.
“A decision on a replacement for Matt in the EPS squad is being considered by England Team Manager Martin Johnson and an announcement will be made in due course.”
A statement from Bath read: “Bath Rugby has been made aware of the initial positive test given by Matt Stevens following the Heineken Cup match against Glasgow Warriors in December.
“The procedure for potential doping offences is clearly laid out in both the player’s contract and the European Rugby Cup Regulations.
“The player is immediately suspended from competition and has been suspended by Bath Rugby until the case is resolved.
“Bath Rugby condemns the use of prohibited substances as defined by the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.”
Responding to the news, Professional Rugby Players Association CEO Damian Hopley added: “We are shocked by this news, which is very out of character for Matt.
“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.”Tweet