Stevens set for England recall
Matt Stevens is set to continue his remarkable comeback from a two-year drugs ban by being named in England's World Cup training squad on Monday.
Since returning to the fold in late January, Saracens prop Stevens has not been on a losing team, either for newly-crowned Aviva Premiership champions Saracens or at representative level with England Saxons. And after reeling off three influential displays for the Saxons during their successful Churchill Cup campaign, a senior squad recall now beckons.
Stevens won the last of his 32 England caps in November 2008, but a lengthy suspension imposed for cocaine use then saw him banished to the sporting wilderness.
"Because I've played for England before, I know exactly the honour and esteem that goes with it," he said, following Saxons' 37-6 victory over Canada at Worcester that meant they lifted the Churchill Cup for a sixth time in nine seasons.
"I am very keen. I will work as hard as I can and see what happens. It has been a tough five months, but it is just week on week for me now.
"What I've said to myself throughout this whole tournament has been about performance, and I am happy with the way I have performed.
"There is a lot of room for improvement, I know that, but I am happy with the way things are going."
Stevens relished the Saxons environment, and he will be the headline promotion by senior boss Martin Johnson from a squad that racked up 165 points and 23 tries in three games.
"Week on week, we have improved as a group of players," added the 28-year-old. "I think there are definitely a lot of (Saxons) players who have put their hands up for selection in the future.
"When we got into that changing room (yesterday) we were really energetic and bouncy to go out there and win the game convincingly."