England prop Matt Stevens retires from international rugby
England prop Matt Stevens announces his retirement from international rugby as he turns his focus to his club career
Matt Stevens has announced his retirement from international rugby, saying he wants to focus on his club career at Saracens.
The 29-year-old prop, who won 44 caps and appeared in two World Cups, admitted the decision to hang up his England boots was an extremely tough choice.
“This is one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make,” he said. “Playing for England has been the ultimate honour and I have been very privileged and proud to wear the white shirt and play with some great players.
“I believe England under Stuart, Graham [Rowntree] and Andy [Farrell] are heading in the right direction towards 2015 and I remain a huge supporter of what they are doing.
“But I have a young family and, conscious that I would not be able to commit to the World Cup in three years, I have decided that the time is right to call it a day and to focus on my rugby at Saracens.”
England head coach Stuart Lancaster was full of praise for the Saracens prop following his announcement.
“On behalf of England Rugby I want to thank Matt for his contribution over the years,” said Lancaster. “He should look back on his international career with pride. I am sure he will continue to be successful with Saracens and beyond.”
The RFU said in a statement that Stevens’ replacement in the England Elite Player Squad would be announced in due course.