1st XV News

Bedford Blues tasted defeat at home in the British & Irish Cup on Saturday afternoon but it was a cracking afternoon of rugby with both teams running in four tries during the afternoon.

Unfortunately, the Blues picked up three more injuries that they could have done without and the upright stopped a penalty and conversion going over in this back-and-forth game.

A bad day at the office for Bedford saw them lose their crucial British & Irish Cup Pool Three clash 44-15 at Llanelli as the home side put seven tries past the Blues.

Bedford looked good for the first 10 minutes at the impressive Parc y Scarlet, but were ultimately let down by sloppy ball control as they crashed out of the competition. Llanelli kicked off and Bedford got off to a great start as they stole the first lineout. Corey Hircock stopped a break from Steff Hughes and Michael Le Bourgeois looked firm with his tackling. 

Ahead of the Blues crucial British & Irish fixtures against Llanelli and Rotherham, Bedford Director of Rugby Mike Rayer took time out of his busy day to sit down with Sam Roberts and discuss all things 2013 and beyond.

Last year may have been the proverbial 'game of two halves' with Bedford experiencing the thrill of a Championship final in 2012/13 followed by the frustration of too many losses in the current campaign but Rayer can see that the team is coming together and slowly rediscovering the form that has made the Blues such a threat since the Championship came into being.

Bedford Blues full back Aaron Morris has been called up to the England Under 20 EPS for the upcoming Six Nations Championship.

England Under-20s Head Coach - and former Blues player - Nick Walshe has made four changes to his squad as the 2013 Junior World Championship winners hunt a fourth successive Six Nations title.

Morris is joined by hooker Tom Woolstencroft (Bath Rugby), wing Tom Collins (Northampton) and centre Max Stelling (Worcester Warriors) who come in to replace Cameron Neild (Sale Sharks), Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby), George Catchpole (Leicester Tigers) and Jordan Burns (Harlequins).

Bedford Blues will be without second row forward Paul Tupai for the games against Llanelli, Rotherham and Nottingham after he was banned for three weeks by the RFU for striking an opponent during the Greene King IPA Championship fixture against London Scottish on Wednesday 1st January.

Tupai appeared before a disciplinary panel on Tuesday evening along with London Scottish prop Eric Fry who faced a charge of making contact with Tupai’s eye ahead of the incident for which the former Samoan lock was red-carded.

If you weren’t one of the 2,555 who enjoyed the thrilling New Year’s day encounter between Bedford Blues and London Scottish then fear not – you can watch the entire game now… Just don’t blink.

The Blues won the game 21-13 in particularly cold, wet and windy conditions but Bedford production company AP Film and Music also attended the game and they have produced a time-lapse video showing all of the action from the day.

AP clamped their camera the club’s TV tower, pressed record at 1.30pm and stopped filming as the crowd began to head home.

As the fuzzy heads start to clear and we say a warm hello to 2014 it seems an appropriate time to take a look back at what has been a quite fantastic 12 months in the history of Bedford Blues Rugby Club.

No one will have any doubt about what the highlight of the year was when – after three times trying – we final got over the final hurdle to reach the Championship Final. Sadly, Newcastle proved too strong over the two legs but the town of Bedford was proud of what had been achieved by a close-knitted group of men who showed that the underdogs can always cause an upset.

Bedford Blues started 2014 in the best possible fashion with a 21-13 win over high-flying London Scottish at Goldington Road on New Year’s Day.

The weather may have suited ducks better but early tries from Mike Le Bourgeois and Nick Fenton-Wells helped Bedford establish a 15-3 half-time lead with James Pritchard – who, during the match, became the Blues all-time leading point scorer - kicking a conversion and a penalty to Lee Millar’s solitary penalty.

Bedford Blues fell foul of a second half Boxing Day rampage at Rotherham, a victory which lifted the home side into the number two spot on the Championship table. The Titans notched up four unanswered tries in the second period and ran out deserving winners 35-6, confirming their credentials as play-off challengers. Bedford seemed to confirm little other than their season continues to be as consistent as badly made Christmas gravy.

From the off, Rotherham’s intensity and appetite was obvious but Bedford played well with the fading December sun at their backs.

Bedford Blues final – and possibly crucial – British & Irish Cup tie against Rotherham Titans on Saturday 18th January will now kick off at 2pm.

With just two games remaining in the first stage of the competition, the Blues (11 points) and Rotherham (13 points) are jostling for the all-important top position in Pool Three although all four teams can still top the table and secure a quarter final place.

With the six pool winners going through to the final eight, the remaining places will be awarded to the top two runners up from all groups.

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