Stevens steps down

Matt Stevens' chances of a second Lions tour look increasingly unlikely after he announced his retirement from international rugby. [more]

Stevens steps down

Matt Stevens’ chances of a second Lions tour look increasingly unlikely after he announced his retirement from international rugby.

The 2005 Lion has called time on his England career after 44 caps despite being named in Stuart Lancaster’s EPS squad for the upcoming season.

Stevens has decided to concentrate on his club commitments with Saracens as he looks to spend more time with his family rather than in camp with his country.

The 29-year-old appeared to have plenty of time left at the top level, especially after having an enforced two-year lay off for cocaine use between 2009 and 2011 – but he felt unable to commit through to the next World Cup and has therefore chosen to walk away rather than give less than 100 per cent.

“This is one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make," said Stevens.

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"Playing for England has been the ultimate honour and I have been very privileged and proud to wear the white shirt and play with some great players.

“I believe England under Stuart, Graham (Rowntree) and Andy (Farrell) are heading in the right direction towards 2015 and I remain a huge supporter of what they are doing.

“But I have a young family and, conscious that I would not be able to commit to the World Cup in three years, I have decided that the time is right to call it a day and to focus on my rugby at Saracens.”

Stevens made his England debut in 2004, less than two years after joining Bath having moved over from South Africa where he previously represented the Junior Springboks.

He was part of Sir Clive Woodward’s Lions party to New Zealand in 2005 but missed out the 2009 adventure to his homeland after failing a drugs test in January of that year.

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