Stevens banned for two years over drugs

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Matt Stevens' rugby career lies in tatters tonight after he received a two-year ban for failing a drugs test.

The England and Bath prop received the "prescribed sanction" at a European Rugby Cup Ltd disciplinary hearing after metabolites of cocaine were found in his system.

Stevens, 26, has been banned from all rugby and rugby-related activities until January 18, 2011.

Bath have announced they will hold an internal hearing with Stevens.

Stevens failed the drugs test after Bath's 25-19 Heineken Cup victory over Glasgow on December 14.

After being informed of the result, Stevens made a tearful public confession and revealed he had developed a problem with drugs.

Stevens, who has won 32 Test caps, was immediately removed from England's RBS 6 Nations squad pending the outcome of today's hearing in Glasgow.

Stevens had been expected to make the Lions squad for this summer's tour to South Africa and he could have been one of England's most experienced players come the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

His chances of featuring in that tournament are now minimal.

Bath chief executive Bob Calleja explained the club would seek to hold talks with Stevens as soon as possible.

"As far as the club is concerned we have to follow due process, which we have done," Calleja told Sky Sports News.

"We will now hold our own internal meeting with Matt and make a statement after we've done that.

"I'm hoping to speak to him as soon as possible, as soon as he returns from Glasgow (where the ERC hearing was held), and continue the dialogue now that we know what the conclusion is."

Calleja acknowledged the length of the ban was to be expected.

He said: "It doesn't come as a particular surprise, looking at the precedents that have been set."

More to follow...