Tom Stephenson signs full contract with Northampton Saints
Last Updated: October 17, 2012 12:28pm
Tom Stephenson has signed a full contract with Northampton Saints, it was announced on Wednesday.
His two-year deal will come into effect at the start of the 2013/14 season, with the 18-year-old centre the second member of the Saints senior academy to agree terms with the club.
In and around Franklin's Gardens, Stephenson is regarded as a very promising player.
"Playing adult rugby through my 'A'-Levels meant that it wasn't as big a shock to system at the start to the season."
Stephenson has appeared regularly for Northampton's second team, the Wanderers, and captained England Under-18s, while in September, he was promoted to England U20s squad.
"It's been a good couple of months, especially now that pre-season's done and we're into playing games," said Stephenson.
"I've been concentrating on getting my head down and it's been enjoyable to be part of winning team in the Aviva 'A' League.
"Playing adult rugby through my 'A'-Levels meant that it wasn't as big a shock to system at the start to the season.
"I'm still a young player with a lot to learn and I'm looking to develop over several years, not just short term. I want to push hard and hopefully get an opportunity in LV Cup.
"I've certainly learnt that working hard pays off - if you work hard someone will notice!"
Jim Mallinder, director of rugby, is thrilled that Stephenson has put pen to paper to stay with the club.
He said: "Tom is an exciting young player who is coming along well. Physically he is showing the benefits of having been a part of our long-term athlete development programme, and he is building on that by improving his overall game understanding as well.
"He has impressed us with his attitude in training and in how he has played for the Wanderers and academy teams.
"We're certainly very happy that he has chosen to sign a full contract with us, and all of the coaches are looking forward to seeing him develop over the next few years."