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Young Bedford wings set for Premiership

15 April 2013

  • Bedford youngsters get dream moves to Wasps and Worcester
  • Bassett and Stephenson to move at end of 2012/13 season
James Stephenson will move to Worcester at the end of the 2012/13 season

Photo: RFU Archive/Nigel Rudgard

The conveyor belt of young talent coming out of Bedford continues to produce, with wings Josh Bassett and James Stephenson the latest to make the step up to the Premiership.

The Blues youngsters will hope to follow in the footsteps of England stars Dan Cole, Owen Farrell and Billy Twelvetrees, who all played for Bedford before making their mark in the Premiership.

21-year-old Bassett – who received a call-up for the England U20s last February – will join London Wasps for the 2013/14 season, while Stephenson will join Worcester Warriors.

Both Bassett and Stephenson make their moves on the back of hugely impressive try-scoring form in the Championship, with Bassett scoring 25 times in the last two seasons.

Stephenson has scored 15 tries in 19 appearances for Bedford, after joining them at the start of the 2011-12 season from National League One club Blackheath, where he scored 19 times in one season.

Bassett will join up with fellow wings Tom Varndell and Christian Wade at Vale Park, who have scored 22 Aviva Premiership tries between them this season.

Premiership shot thoroughly deserved – Rayer

Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Jones believes Bassett has a “big future” after impressing in the RFU Championship.

He said: “Josh fits the bill perfectly for what we are trying to achieve here.

“We have some very talented wingers in our squad, but he's got a big future, and having impressed hugely at Championship level we are looking forward to seeing what he can do with us.”

Photo: RFU Archive/Nigel Rudgard

Bedford’s Director of Rugby Mike Rayer admitted that he has mixed feelings about allowing the youngsters to leave Goldington Road, but knows that they have a big future ahead of them in the game.

He said: “In one way we are very disappointed to lose two such talented wingers in the same week but both Josh and James thoroughly deserve their shot in the Premiership.

“James arrived at Goldington Road with a reputation for being a hard-hitting, try-scoring winger and he has certainly lived up to that during his season with us.

“He has never given anything less than 100 per cent and I’m sure that won’t change right up until the end of the campaign.”

After signing his three-year deal with Worcester, Stephenson said: “I’ve loved it at Bedford.

“I’m so grateful for the opportunity they gave me and to take the step up to the Premiership now is a dream come true. Bedford is a great club.

“They play a great style and a brand of rugby and without that it wouldn’t have been easy to get noticed, so it’s a great place.

“The town is great, the fans are great, the amount of fans we pack into Goldington Road is fantastic.

“I’m looking forward to finishing the season with them and hopefully we can get quite a few wins under our belt and make some memories.”


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