Stephenson to wing it for Leeds Carnegie

Leeds Carnegie have announced the signing of former Bath winger Michael Stephenson on a two year contract for their first major signing for the new season.

The 29-year-old previously played at Newcastle Falcons and has three caps for England gained in 2001. He has made 93 appearances for Bath since moving to the Recreation Ground in 2005 and has scored 23 tries in total.

Looking ahead to his move to Leeds Carnegie he said, “I am looking forward to moving back up to the North of England and the move has worked out really well for me.

“I have had five good years at Bath but I was not getting as much game time as I would have liked and so I looked to move on. I have made some great friends at Bath and it has been a privilege to play for such a prestigious club as Bath. Hopefully we can finish the season at Twickenham.

“It has been good to see what Leeds Carnegie have done in recent weeks and I am excited about the challenge ahead. Leeds faced a big challenge to stay in the Guinness Premiership this season but hopefully next season we can build on those foundations. I spoke to Stuart Hooper at Bath about his time at Leeds and he had nothing but good things to say about the club and the city.

“I have been up to the training ground and have obviously played at Headingley Carnegie before and everything is in place for the club to kick on in the future. If you look for indicators of how a club is going, things are very good at Leeds.

“The first team have done well in the Guinness Premiership, the A team got through to the semi finals, the Academy is producing quality young players and someone like Hendre Fourie is getting picked for England. All those things to say to me that Leeds Carnegie is a club going places,” added Stephenson.

The winger did not feature last weekend when his current club met his future employer however he did play at Headingley Carnegie at New Year and scored a crucial try that kick started Bath’s rise up the table in to the Guinness Premiership play offs this weekend.

He says he is already looking forward to next season, “I just want to play more Guinness Premiership rugby and hopefully I can work hard in pre-season and put myself in the plans of the coaching staff.

“I have not been regularly in the Bath team in recent times and that has not helped my sharpness or confidence so being able to put a string of performances together will help me get better and better next season,” added Stephenson.

Leeds Carnegie Director of Rugby Andy Key commented, “I have known about Michael’s abilities for a number of years, going back to his time at Newcastle and he has always impressed.

“He has pace and knows how to beat an opponent with his one on one skills. He is a Northern lad and we know from our recruitment process that crucially he also has the right character to fit into our group.”

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