Stevens to join Smit's Sharks?
Tue, 18 Feb 2014 09:48
Stevens can also play on both sides of the scrum
South African-born England prop Matt Stevens is reportedly set to leave Saracens at the end of the season and join the Sharks in Durban.
According to the Daily Mail, Stevens has already signed a deal that will see him return to the city where he grew up, to see out his career.
Besides the attraction of returning to the place where he lived for the early part of his life, a large factor behind a possible deal is the fact that it would see Stevens join up once more with former Saracens teammate John Smit - now the Sharks CEO.
Stevens can also play on both sides of the scrum, so would add another useful option to Sharks coach Jake White's front row stocks.
While Springbok Lourens Adriaanse is filling the role of back-up to Jannie du Plessis at tighthead, White currently has the relatively inexperienced Dale Chadwick to provide cover for Tendai Mtawarira at loosehead.
Therefore the acquisition of a seasoned and versatile international prop who can play loosehead as well as tighthead looks like a shrewd bit of business from the Durban-based side.
The 31-year-old Stevens was schooled at Kearsney College in Kwa-Zulu Natal, but it was in England where he got his break.
Stevens joined Bath towards the end of 2002 and soon impressed, earning himself a call-up to the England national side in 2004.
He was eligible because of his English parents and went on to win 44 caps and play in two World Cups.
Stevens toured with the British and Irish Lions in 2005 and despite retiring from international rugby in 2012, was selected and agreed to go on the 2013 Lions of Australia. He wasn't picked to play in a Test match on either tour.
The former Western Province youth player's career hasn't been without controversy though, and in 2009 while still playing for Bath, Stevens tested positive for cocaine and was subsequently banned from all rugby for two years.
On his return in 2011 he joined Saracens where he linked up with Smit, and now it looks like he could be following him back to Durban.
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