Fixtures - Top Bar

Stephenson: Northampton Saints won’t make same mistakes

In their relentless pursuit of a home semi-final, Tom Stephenson insists Aviva Premiership Rugby leaders Northampton Saints have learnt their lessons from last year.

This time last season the Saints’ international cohort returned from their two-month absence, only for the club to lose their next three league games on the trot.

They eventually secured that coveted home semi-final and edged past third-place Leicester Tigers at Franklin’s Gardens before lifting the Aviva Premiership Rugby trophy at Twickenham.

That is a moment Stephenson is eager to repeat and despite their nine-point lead at the top of the table with five rounds to go, the young centre insists there is no room for complacency this time.

And, much like the rest of the squad, he is raring to put right their LV= Cup semi-final defeat to Saracens – which denied them a home final in the competition – two weeks ago.

“The international guys have come straight back into training but last year when they came back we didn’t go too well,” said Stephenson. “We have spoken about that and we don’t want the same to happen this year.

“I don’t think we are feeling the pressure but we know what we have got to do and it is in our hands to lose.

“The Saracens game wasn’t the result we wanted but it gave us a chance to recharge, I guess. In the first half we played well but in the second half we let ourselves down. We were confident going into it and we would have been even more confident at Franklin’s Gardens.

“The week after Sarries we had a little bit of a chance to rest, then it was just about getting the legs going again.”

And while the Saints have plenty still to play for this season – defending their Aviva Premiership Rugby title and travelling to Clermont for a European Rugby Champions Cup quarter-final – Stephenson also has personal ambitions.

After his previous involvement with the England Under-20s and impressive form for Northampton, a Saxons call-up is next on the agenda.

But the 20-year-old admits simply keeping hold of his Saints shirt, with the likes of Luther Burrell and George Pisi around, is keeping him busy enough.

“If that came along, I would be ecstatic,” he added. “That’s a long way off and my thoughts are on trying to secure a position with Saints at 12 or 13.

“When you are a young player you just want to get the game time – when Luther is back I have got to fight for my shirt.

“When the team selection comes up you just think about what you are doing and then at the weekend you have just got to perform.”

Tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final are selling faster than this time last year so with just five rounds to go, now's the time to click here to book your place at the world's biggest club rugby final.

Latest News

Chiefs side to face Newcastle Falcons

Rob Baxter may be wary of the threat Newcastle Falcons pose to his Exeter side, but insists its challenges such…

Waldrom

Wasps team to play Gloucester at the Ricoh Arena this Sunday

Director of Rugby Dai Young has named the Wasps’ side to take on Gloucester at the Ricoh Arena this Sunday,…

Le Roux Wasps

Sale Sharks Team News

Sale Sharks have named their side to take on Saracens in the Aviva Premiership on Saturday (kick off 2.45pm)  at…

Josh Charnley

Newcastle Falcons team to face Exeter Chiefs

Newcastle Falcons have made three changes ahead of Saturday’s Aviva Premiership trip to Exeter Chiefs (kick-off 3pm). Chris Harris replaces…

Evan Olmstead

Gloucester Rugby make two changes for Sunday’s trip to Wasps

Gloucester Rugby keep faith with the majority of the side that started against Saracens last weekend, making just two changes…

Lewis Ludlow

Bristol Rugby team to face Bath Rugby

Bristol Rugby play host to Bath Rugby in the much-anticipated West Country derby on Sunday (1pm KO). Mark Tainton’s men…

Gavin Henson

Saracens name team for Sale clash

Saracens have named their team to face Sale Sharks in Saturday’s round 16 Aviva Premiership clash at Allianz Park, kick-off…

Joel Conlon

Annett and Dowson return for Saints test

Niall Annett and Phil Dowson are among three changes to the Warriors starting line-up for their trip to Franklin’s Gardens…

Phil Dowson

Northampton Saints team news versus Worcester

The Northampton Saints team has been named for Saturday’s Aviva Premiership Round 16 home match against Worcester. The Saints head…

Michael Paterson

RFU Disciplinary: Francois Louw

An appeal against the sanction imposed on Francois Louw of Bath Rugby was heard by an RFU Disciplinary appeal panel…

AUDIO: Preview of this weekend’s Six Nations and Aviva Premiership action

It's the third round of matches in the Six Nations Championship this weekend, while action also continues in the Aviva…

Twickenham Stoop

England team to face Italy at Twickenham

Eddie Jones has named his side for England’s RBS 6 Nations game against Italy at Twickenham Stadium on Sunday (kick-off…

Saints eleven pen new deals

Northampton Saints has today announced new deals with 11 members of the current squad. Three of the more experienced players,…

Luther Burrell

Symons wants Gloucester Rugby to kick-on against Wasps

Just three points separates Gloucester Rugby and sixth-placed Harlequins and centre Andy Symons is determined to see the Cherry &…

Bath Rugby surpass 40,000 ticket sales for The Clash

Bath Rugby is thrilled to confirm that over 40,000 tickets have been sold for The Clash, when they will take…

Bath Rugby

Evans determined for a Harlequins top-six finish

Harlequins fly-half Nick Evans is determined to drive Harlequins to a top-six finish as the Aviva Premiership Rugby season reaches…

We’ll expect a physical test against Saints, says Worcester’s Ben Howard

Ben Howard is expecting a big, physical battle when his Worcester Warriors side face Northampton Saints on Saturday. Full-back Howard,…

Evans and Lambert return to the starting line-up for the visit of Leicester Tigers

Harlequins has announced the team to play Leicester Tigers in Round 15 of the Aviva Premiership tomorrow at The Stoop,…

Nick Evans

Leicester Tigers team news ahead of Aviva Premiership trip to The Stoop

Lachlan McCaffrey and Peter Betham return to the Leicester Tigers team for Friday's Aviva Premiership Round 16 fixture away to…

Peter Betham