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Bedford Blues gave one of their best performances all season at Ashton Gate, but it wasn’t to be as they went down 38-14 to the league leaders Bristol, writes Ryan Lewis.

The Blues travelled west off the back of four straight defeats in the Greene King IPA Championship, but played with confidence and ambition, threatening a side full of international experience. 

The result could have been better for the visitors but for a referee who harshly sent four Bedford players to the bin, three of which coming just before the half-time whistle.

Bedford Blues Academy welcomed a Leicester Tigers Academy side, who had beaten Wales U18s and England Counties U18s in their last two games, to Goldington Road on Sunday. 

The Blues took an early lead after 10 minutes but went into half time 14pts - 5 behind after a closely contested first half.  Tigers’ superior pace and power saw them stretch away in the last 20 minutes to end as deserved winners by 47–5.

The Blues Academy welcome Leicester Tigers Academy to Goldington Road on Sunday, KO 12 noon.

With a spate of injuries to cope with the Blues make five changes to the starting lineup and give debuts to four new players on the bench. 

Bedford Blues travel to Ashton Gate on Sunday afternoon with Director of Rugby Mike Rayer challenging his players to put in a strong performance against table-topping Bristol.

The two teams met on Boxing Day at Goldington Road when the Blues went into the break leading 17-7 thanks to tries from James Pritchard, Harry Wells and Dean Adamson only for the visitors to regroup during the interval to finally run out 24-28 winners - Pat Tapley added the Blues fourth try which secured two bonus points.

Bedford Blues will be looking to bounce back this weekend in a sizeable task against top of the table Bristol Rugby at Ashton Gate on Sunday (Kick Off 3pm).

Looking ahead to the reverse fixture of Boxing Day at Goldington Road, Blues centre Michael Le Bourgeois believes composure and taking the game to the league leaders will be key in gaining a result from Bristol.

Le Bourgeois said: “Every game counts, it’s not one that we can let slip so we will take the game to them - they’re top of the league for a reason so both teams will be trying to play, but we have to keep our composure.” 

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