Stephenson excited ahead of Aviva Premiership derby

James Stephenson admits he is excited ahead of his first Aviva Premiership derby between Warriors and Gloucester.

The wing has already played at Kingsholm twice this season in the JP Morgan Sevens and Aviva A League but says it will be a different prospect this time around.

He said: “I’m really looking forward to Sunday’s game. I had a taste of Kingsholm earlier this season but this is the biggest game for us so far. In terms crowd, atmosphere and tension it’s going to be amazing.

“There is a lot more at stake than in previous matches. They’ve lost a few at Kingsholm but their backline is good and they’ve got great players so it will be a tough game for us.”

Stephenson arrived at Sixways in the summer after impressing for Bedford Blues in the Championship.

And, according to the 23-year-old, he is enjoying life under Director of Rugby Dean Ryan.

He continued: “I’m loving it here. It’s my first time as a full time professional so, at the start, the intensity really told on my body.

“But now I’m used to it. I’m enjoying it a lot and I’m really happy to be getting some game time. The boys are fantastic and the crowd are behind us every week.”

Warriors have seen an improvement in performances in recent weeks, something which has coincided with Stephenson’s selection on the wing. And he insists there is a new optimism at the club ahead of the new year.

He added: “There’s been an uplift in atmosphere around the club. Everyone seems happier and we’re working harder and getting behind each other.

“The morning conditioning sessions are fantastic and there is a good vibe.”

To see an exclusive interview with James Stephenson on Worcester Warriors TV, click here.