Lion returns

Former Lion Matt Stevens will make his return to rugby today. [more]

Lion returns

Former Lion Matt Stevens will make his return to rugby today.

The England prop had been serving a two-year ban for cocaine use but that has now expired and he has linked up with his new club Saracens to begin training.

And while admitting the past two years had been a rollercoaster he admits it was the best thing that could have happened to him.

"That whole experience, getting banned, all led to where I am today and I'm genuinely a lot happier person and in a lot better place, so it's a good thing," said Stevens.

The South African-born loose-head cannot wait to get back to action but is adamant he will not fall into the same trap again.

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"That's what you learn about addiction and the issues surrounding it – it's not about conquering it, it's about keeping it in check, and I regularly see someone, I go to counselling," added Stevens.

"It's about being aware that it's a problem you've got to continually be on top of. But I really miss team training sessions.

"That sounds bizarre because when you play you can think of nothing worse than training – you really want to play.
"With the mindset I've got now I can only be in a better place to be a better player."

Stevens had spent seven years at The Rec with Bath but made the decision to quit in a bid to turn over a new leaf and get his career back on track.

"As an individual I really think the fresh start is something that I needed. Take nothing away from my time at Bath.

"I had a brilliant time and it's such a special place to play. But it was time to move on and Saracens is a really good place for me to do that.

"It's my goal to play for England again but I've been out for two years and I wouldn't ever want to come across as that guy who would assume he's got what it takes to play.

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

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