Centre Stephenson targets Saints first-team spot


HIGHLY-RATED centre Tom Stephenson says George Pisi and new Saints signing Dominic Waldouck can help him earn first-team honours.

Pisi is Saints’ current supporters’ and players’ player of the year after a fine first season at the club, while Waldouck signed on from Wasps this summer.

Those two players are role models for 18-year-old Academy ace Stephenson, who is aiming to make his way into the senior picture.

He will look to lay down an early marker when a youthful Saints side head to Edgeley Park for the second leg of the the JP Morgan Asset Management Sevens Series on Friday night.

And Stephenson is hoping some mentoring from Pisi and new boy Waldouck can stand him in good stead ahead of the new season.

“Someone like George Pisi had a great first season at Saints last year and that’s only good for you,” said the England Under 18 player. “It only makes you push yourself harder.

“And hopefully with the likes of Dominic Waldouck coming here as well it will help me a lot.

“I’m looking forward to building a relationship with those players and hopefully they can mentor me, almost.”

Should he shine in the sevens tournament, which also includes Leicester Tigers, London Welsh and Sale Sharks, Stephenson could find himself catapulted into first-team contention.

Saints boss Jim Mallinder believes the player is a hot prospect and could hand the former Moulton College pupil a start or two in the LV= Cup this season.

Stephenson is desperate to get a run out for Mallinder’s men and is desperate to take the chance should it arise.

“You’ve just got to take your opportunity when it comes and when you do get an opportunity with the first team you’ve got to take it with both hands,” said Stephenson, who made an appearance in a friendly against Russia at Franklin’s Gardens last year.

“Hopefully if I stay fit this season I can get a little bit of game time. There’s going to be a lot of competition but I’ll work hard and try to impress the coaches.”