Bedford Blues are pleased to announce the first new signing for the 2015/16 Greene King IPA Championship season along with four members of the current squad who have put pen to paper on new deals.

Captain Nick Fenton-Wells, hooker Charlie Clare and wingers Pat Tapley and Dean Adamson will be joined at Goldington Road next season by England Sevens star Sam Blanchet.

Back rower Fenton-Wells, 28, has signed a two year deal with the Blues and will be looking to help build and guide the team in for the coming campaign. The South African born forward is renowned for his speed, strength and physicality in both open play or at breakdown it’s no wonder he was picked for Martin Haag’s Championship XV side against Canada, showcasing the talent available in the Championship.

New signing Blanchet - the brother of current Blues forward Justin - moved from Canada to the UK at the age of 11 and originally believed that playing ice hockey might be his future. Sam studied at Exeter University and was in the Exeter Chiefs team that lifted the Aviva A League title in 2011/12. He was also part of the Great Britain Students side that won the 6th World University Sevens Championship in São José dos Campos in Brazil last August. His senior debut for the Chiefs was against Bath Rugby in February 2012. Sam switched from the back row at Exeter to the wing through a lack of numbers in a training session.

Hooker Clare, 23, arrived at Bedford Blues in summer 2013 following four years in the Leicester Academy which incorporated loan moves to Loughborough Students, Nottingham and Jersey. He quickly established himself in the front row and has grown significantly during his time at the club to become a vital asset - something that was also recognised when he was selected for the Championship XV which defeated Canada at Sixways.

Tapley, the Blues joint top try scorer with 13, joined the Blues at the beginning of the 2013/14 season. Having previously played for Newmarket, the speedy winger made the move to Cambridge midway through the 2009/10 season before making his way to Bedford. Standing at 6ft 3ins tall, Tapley’s lightening speed and impressive breaks make him a valuable member of the team.

Fellow winger Adamson has had a superb debut season with the Blues having crossed the whitewash nine times. The 22 year old joined Bedford after a hugely impressive season in National Two South with Ampthill where he ran in 22 tries. Adamson came through the Blues Academy and had always remained on the Blues radar so when the opportunity rose to join last summer, he seized it with both hands and has fully taken the chance to prove what a special talent he is.

Speaking about the signings, Blues Director of rugby Mike Rayer said: “It is extremely pleasing to be able to announce five huge signings for next season. We know that there is a lot of work to do if we want to get back up in the top four so it is important that we identify talented players who will help us achieve this aim.

“Nick has been an awesome leader ever since he arrived and you only have to look at the weekend’s performance to see what an important player he is for us. Charlie is a huge talent and you have to remind yourself that he is still such a young man with a big career ahead of him.

“It is also a huge boost for us to be able to retain the likes of Pat and Dean who have been in tremendous form. Both stepped up from lower leagues but they both proved that they are more than capable at this level and I’m thrilled that we will be seeing them running out at Goldington Road once again.

“Sam comes to us with an impressive CV having come through the ranks at Exeter before being snapped up by England Sevens. He is primarily a winger but is also an accomplished centre who has a history of playing in the back row. We’ve heard nothing but good things about his ability and I’m sure that everyone will be looking forward to seeing him in a Blues shirt next season.”