Matt Stevens has made his comeback after a two-year ban for cocaine use today playing for Saracen’s Storm (A team) in a 39-29 victory against London Wasps.
The England and Lions prop failed a drugs test in December 2008 when playing for Bath, the subsequent two-year ban in 2009 made headlines around the world.
This was just the beginning of a number of high profile incidents that have tarnished rugby’s reputation in recent years and I for one hope the trend does not continue.
For many years I was a smug rugby union supporter and would look down my nose at those who supported Rugby League, AFL or soccer. I proudly quoted that rugby was a hooligans game played by gentleman and you would never see those sort of antics in ‘our’ code.
Since then we have seen Bloodgate (Harlequins winger Tom Williams used a blood cap to ensure a tactical substitution in the Heineken match v Leinster) and Quade Cooper charged with burglary.
Though the charges were later withdrawn, it still made me think that somehow rugby wasn’t as pure as I wanted it to be.
What are your thoughts? Do you think rugby is heading towards the way of the other codes or were these just one-off incidents?