Saracens defence and forwards coach Paul Gustard hailed the influence the Bedford Blues are having on their young stars following his side’s 38-21 win over Leicester Tigers at Goldington Road in the LV= Cup last Friday night, writes Mark Wood.
The two clubs enjoy a close relationship with a number of players dual-registered.
Former Blues starlet Duncan Taylor touched down and was named man of the match on the night with full-back Ben Ransom also impressive.
Gustard said: “I think some of our youngsters came to the fore, Ben Ransom was very instrumental in that first half.
“He’s been in good form for Bedford this season, Mike Rayer’s given him good reports.
“We’ve seen his tapes and he’s playing very well, while Duncan Taylor, local boy come good, so it was really pleasing.
“Saracens often get criticised for not playing attacking rugby, but I think we showed that we do play good rugby when the circumstances allow.”
On where he sees Ransom playing long-term, Gustard continued: “I’m a forward with cauliflower ears so I don’t get to go into such things, but I think Ben’s such a good footballer. He’s got brilliant feet.
“He’s got the ability to beat defenders with aplomb.
“He’s one of these guys that can probably play at 13, 14, 15, 11 but then again I’m a number four so I don’t know!”
Five Saracens players on the night had pulled on a Blues shirt and Gustard believes that familiarity may have helped them.
He said: “Possibly. Saracens over the last two or three years have made a good history and a good track record of going to different venues and having success.
“We’ve gone to the Ospreys, we’ve gone to Brussels, we’ve gone to Paris we’ve gone to Cape Town and have had some great results.
“So for us it’s another part of our adventure until we find our own home.
“I think Leicester go back three, four years, they had a partnership with Bedford so they might try and lay claim to that.
“On Bedford, I think it’s a great club, very well run, with Geoff Irvine and Mike Rayer here at the helm and Hynesy (Martin Hynes) and so on.
“It’s been brilliant, we can get our players here, get a lot of regular first team football, and I think that they’ve shown their development over the last six months has been accelerated rather than just playing in our Storm and helping out in training.”
Blues chairman Geoff Irvine believes the event has helped to further cement Bedford’s relationship with Saracens.
He added: “Absolutely, tremendously and also even as far as Leicester are concerned.
“Leicester were very complimentary and said how nice it was to be back at Bedford.
“They were complimentary about our new lights and thought the quality of the pitch was impressive.
“All in all it was another great night for Bedford Blues.”