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Stevens gunning for starting spot


Matt Stevens is 'relishing every minute' of his Lions adventure

Matt Stevens is 'relishing every minute' of his Lions adventure

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Matt Stevens is 'relishing every minute' of his Lions adventure

Matt Stevens has acknowledged the qualities of British and Irish Lions rival Adam Jones, but has no intention of making up the numbers in Hong Kong and Australia.

Saracens prop Stevens was one of the surprise inclusions in head coach Warren Gatland's 37-man squad, having retired from international duty with 44 caps to his name in August 2012.

"I have a lot of respect for Adam, I have played against him for the last 10 years. He is a superb player and he has a lot of good things most props want," he said. "He has a lot to his game, I respect him and he is a good bloke which is half the battle in rugby. But, of course, I am not going out there to make up the numbers, we are all competitive animals otherwise we wouldn't be here."

However, despite being back among the international elite, Stevens is not planning to reverse his decision to stand down from England duty.

"I am not thinking about that, it is just about this tour and I am relishing every minute of it," added Stevens.

"Any international player when they retire has second thoughts and it was the most difficult rugby decision I have ever made.

"But it was the right choice at the time, obviously it has given me the chance to play week in, week out for Saracens and has got me in contention for this trip.

"It has been difficult but I didn't retire because I didn't think I was good enough, I retired because there were other things I needed to sort out to get back playing for Saracens.

"I had just come back from injury and it wasn't fair on me playing a bit part for Stuart (Lancaster) when I thought I wasn't going to be there for the World Cup in 2015."