YOU may remember him as the no-necked runner-up on X Factor: Battle of the stars or those of you who can bare to watch England rugby internationals these days, may have seen him win 32 caps at the front of the scrum, but both Matt Stevens’ singing and rugby careers appear to be in tatters after his teary confession to a raging drug habit.
The 26-year-old faces a potential two-year ban after testing positive for a recreational substance following Bath’s Heineken Cup victory over Glasgow on December 7.
He has been suspended from all competitions and removed from England’s elite squad after deciding to reveal all in an emotional TV interview.
“It is a very serious substance and something over a period of time I have realised I have an issue with, something I think has basically ruined my life up until this point,” he wept.
“It is pretty distressing talking about this. When you think how much time and effort so many people have put in to my career. I’ve thrown it away with irresponsible behaviour.That’s the problem with drugs, it so quickly becomes a big deal. I owe it to everyone to admit it.”
He added that he had finally woken up to the severity of the problem and is determined to rebuild his ruined reputation, both on and off the field.
He had talked about his desire to be involved with the Lions in South Africa from May. But we must have misheard him. He must have said lines not Lions.
• IN A frustratingly inevitable episode which epitomises why the sport of boxing is on its knees, Ricky Hatton’s proposed superfight with Manny Pacquiao will not take place after the two sides failed to agree terms.
Hatton’s advisors had reportedly agreed a 50-50 purse split with Pacquiao but the Filipino wanted 60-40 and rejected 52-48.
Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum was not amused by his fighter’s failure to agree terms. “Manny decided not to sign. He was unhappy with the terms. The fight is off. The suits can posture but the fighters have to go in the ring and fight. But I am not thrilled right now.”
Hatton is now hoping to engage Floyd Mayweather Jnr in a rematch. That won’t happen either. What a fucking shambles.
• SHAKY Paul Casey almost lost his bottle once again, but was finally able to sleep easy after clinging on for his first win in two years.
Coasting to victory, or so it seemed, when he led the Abu Dhabi Championship by six with only eight holes to play, Casey bogeyed three of the next four. As South African Louis Oosthuizen had already posted an eight-under 64, the gap was suddenly only one stroke.
However, the Ryder Cup ‘star’, whose last win came at this event in 2007, parred the closing stretch to take the £217,153 first prize.
Having slipped from world no12 to outside the top 40, the ninth European Tour title of Casey’s career took him back into the top 20.
“That was a bit of a nervous one” was his contender for understatement of the year.
In the States, Zach Johnson fired a final round five-under-par 65 to win the Sony Open by two strokes from David Toms and Adam Scott.
• RONNIE O’Sullivan celebrated his Masters win with an angry blast at beaten Mark Selby and the BBC.
The cockney card’s gripping 10-8 victory over the defending champ dragged on until 12.19am on Monday morning and was in stark contrast to the world champion’s rocket-esque style.
O’Sullivan felt a combination of snail-paced Selby’s slow play and TV scheduling meant a gripping final lost millions of fans, forced to turn off and go to bed.
He said: “I’m not involved in many matches like this. There were times out there when Mark didn’t kill me off quickly. It’s as if he was waiting for me to make a mistake. It is not good for the sport.”
We agree. And they should introduce a rule allowing players to do anything they want to put their opponent off. Then we’d watch.
• AFC champions Pittsburgh Steelers will face shock NFC kings Arizona Cardinals in the Super Bowl. For the three of you who care.
WITH all the speculation about Kaka’s failed £108 million move to Man City, you could be forgiven for thinking if he is actually really that good.
Of course the answer is yes.
But Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite may never have been the superstar we know, as at the age of 18, he suffered a career-threatening and possibly paralysis-inducing spinal fracture as a result of a swimming pool accident. He attributed his amazing recovery to the good lord and has since given a share of his income to his church.
After leaving hometown club Sao Paulo for AC Milan – in a €8.5 million deal described as “peanuts” by owner Silvio Berlusconi – Ricky had already won the World Cup, Serie A, the Champions League and both European and World Player of the year by the age of 25.
Due to contributions on and off the field, Time magazine named him one of the world’s 100 most influential people,
The devout evangelical Christian has often worn a T-shirt with ‘I Belong to Jesus’ on it, has the phrase ‘God Is Faithful’ sticthed onto his boots and is a UN ambassador for hunger relief.
His favourite music is Gospel, his goal celebration involves him pointing to the sky as a gesture of thanks to God and his favourite book is The Bible.
Still, if he’d come to England, a few hours at China Whites in the company of Danielle Lloyd would have put paid to all that.