Saints centre Stephenson savours emotional Gardens moment

Tom Stephenson opened the scoring against the Dragons (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Tom Stephenson opened the scoring against the Dragons (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Tom Stephenson admits it was an emotional moment when he scored for Saints against the Dragons on Saturday.

The talented centre was making his first 15-a-side appearance at Franklin's Gardens since suffering a broken leg in the friendly against Rotherham Titans last August.

And it looked as though Stephenson had never been away as he impressed in midfield, scoring Saints' first try of the game in a 71-21 pre-season demolition of the Dragons.

"I wasn't expecting it, but getting over the whitewash, the emotion hit me," Stephenson said.

"I was pretty happy!

"It was reminiscent of my try against Gloucester four or five years ago so it was pretty good."

Stephenson spent the early part of the summer playing for Randwick Greens in Sydney.

And he and Tom Collins, who also scored against the Dragons, have clearly benefited from their Australian experience.

"Especially for TC, out at Randwick he got a huge amount of confidence there," Stephenson said.

"He's definitely brought that back here and he's looking really good here.

"For me it was just about getting game time there (in Sydney) and it's definitely been worthwhile.

"Hopefully it showed today."

Stephenson and Collins know they must continue to impress during pre-season if they are to be in contention to face Saracens in the Aviva Premiership opener at Twickenham on September 2.

And the fixtures continue to come thick and fast as Saints host Nottingham on Thursday before travelling to face Glasgow Warriors in Stirling next Saturday.

"It's Nottingham and Glasgow next week so whoever I play against I've just got to back it up again," Stephenson said.

"Especially in pre-season games, they come around quick and you've got to be on the ball all the time.

"One good game doesn't mean you're in the team so I've got to be backing it up each week ahead of the season."