Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Stevens targets England recall

Matt Stevens

Matt Stevens is hoping his form for new club Saracens will eventually be good enough to earn him an England recall.

The 28-year-old prop will join the London club on Wednesday on the completion of his two-year ban for a failed drugs test. Stevens was a regular in the England squad prior to his suspension but is not expecting a call from Martin Johnson just yet.

He told BBC Sport: "Obviously that's got to be a goal, and it is my goal to play for England, but I've been out two years. I wouldn't want to ever come across as that guy who assumes he's got what it takes. If you look at the England team now, over the last two years, it's made massive improvements. I've got that chance, but that's all it is."

He added: "I've got to concentrate on playing for Sarries, playing well for them, and if it takes me to a point where I can play for England, that's brilliant."

Stevens admitted after he failed the test in January 2009 that he was addicted to cocaine, and he subsequently resigned from Bath - the club he had represented since 2002.

During the last two years, Stevens has opened a cafe with his former Bath and England colleague Lee Mears as well as taking up Brazilian jujitsu, and the forward concedes to butterflies at the thought of playing rugby again.

He continued: "I'm pretty nervous. It's obviously amazing the fact that I'll be able to play rugby again and nothing's going to stop that, and that's great, but for the last three months I've really knuckled down to some rugby training and every training session is one less training session to go until I play."

Regarding his decision to sign for Saracens, Stevens said: "Take nothing away from my time at Bath. I had a brilliant time and it's such a special place to play.

"But for me, as an individual, I really felt the fresh start is something I needed. I needed to get away from my time there and Saracens is a really good place for me to do that."

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