Stevens hopes to call tune against Ireland

Rugby comes first for Matt Stevens. Not even the chance to perform with the Three Tenors - Luciano Pavarotti, Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo - in the Bath Pump Rooms last year, could distract him from his chosen profession.

Members of the Bath Choral Society, who had heard Stevens singing, had approached him to see if he would join them as the backing chorus for the singing extravaganza, but the South Africa-born tight-head prop said: "Unfortunately we had a training camp that clashed with it so I couldn't accept the invitation. I would have loved to."

But he needed no second bidding when called up by England for his third cap and his first start for his adopted country - his father, Russell, is English. Nor indeed did the England coach, Andy Robinson, have any hesitation in selecting the relatively raw recruit. Stevens, 22, has made 10 starts for Bath and come on a further 43 times as a replacement and not always at tight-head prop.

Robinson did what Bath have avoided, in the main, that is pick Stevens in the specialist, tricky tight-head position in preference to club-mate Duncan Bell, exactly eight years his senior and vastly more experienced.

"Matt has been involved with us for the last year," explained Robinson. "He has been playing very well and is therefore familiar with our systems, and our line-out calls." As far as Stevens is concerned any apprehension he might feel is good. "Of course anyone who has two caps will be somewhat anxious about going into their third game, however, I think it is a good thing, because it puts you on your toes."

The Bath head coach, John Connolly, has no fears for him. "Technically Matty is a world-class player," said the widely travelled Australian. "He is one of those rare players - France's Sylvain Marconnet is another - who is just as comfortable either side of the front row. And he is a New Age prop, he is mobile - his runs in a match are always in double figures, whereas in the 1991 World Cup final a prop such as Jeff Probyn would have run maybe three yards. And Matty is good with the ball in hand."

Physically he is quite a size, a shade over 6ft and an athletic 18st 2lb. His head is large as well, not through immodesty. There is a large brain in there, one that has interests outside the game. The singing is one aspect - he has had formal training as a tenor - but he also plays the guitar along with Brendon Daniel and according to Bath players the pair of them provide polished entertainment on trips.

"My musical tastes go right across the board. I studied music at school and I play a bit of rock on the guitar." Whether he will be able to call the tune against Reggie Corrigan, the Ireland loose-head, is debatable. But it is probably worth placing a tenner on the tenor that he will not let his side down.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...