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Stephenson: It's really good to be back

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

With Saints lifting the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Bowl last night, this weekend's tournament marked the first time Tom Stephenson had taken to the Gardens turf in over a year.

The young centre, who suffered a tough leg injury back in 2016/17 preseason, said that while he'd have preferred to make his comeback on the 15s stage, a good run out with the 7s was actually what he needed.

"It's really good to be back," Stepheson told SaintsTV live on Facebook after Saints lifted the Bowl last night.

"It's a little bit of a different circumstance with the sevens, I'd have much preferred to be playing 15s but it was good to get that blow out which I definitely needed."

Having just got back playing some summer rugby for Randwick out in Australia with fellow Saint Tom Collins, Stephenson said that though the jet lag was an issue for the pair, it was good to get back on Franklin's turf.

"We got back Monday morning so on Friday night playing at 10 o'clock at night was a tough one, we were a bit jet lagged. It was good to get it over and done with though, good to get some air into the lungs, although I could definitely do with a new pair this morning.

"But it was good for me and TC (Tom Collins) to get back out there in the black, gold and green."

Speaking of Randwick and getting back into rugby after a long time out injured, Stephenson said the opportunity to get back to playing and out of the gym was something he relished but that the focus was solely back on Saints and the start of the season now.

"We had some really good experiences out there. The club we were at had a great bunch of lads and some great coaches. It was good just to be able to play a different style of rugby, in the sun with some dry ball so it was good all round.

"When I was signing my most recent contract, I'd been out of rugby for 19 months and going out to Australia I just needed to reset my mind really. I'd been in the gym for two years or so and not really doing a lot. So I needed to get out and see some of the world but also play some rugby. I'm really glad we went and that TC came along and added to the experience.

"The leg went well out there, it was good to test it out on a dry track but it's all about getting fit and ready for the 15s games back here in Northampton now.

"We've got a week off next week which I think is needed but then we're back in and into the preseason games. It'll be good to get back to the 15s and see if we can bring what we learned out in Australia back here."