Bedford Blues will open its gates on April 26 to some of the most talented young rugby players in the country as it hosts an inaugural U19 10-a-side tournament.
The invitational competition – which came to fruition following discussions between Blues director of rugby Mike Rayer and academy director Denis Ormesher – is designed to showcase the player development work being carried out by a number of Championship clubs, as well as providing a competitive end of season focus for those taking part.
Joining the host club will be academy sides from Championship clubs London Scottish, Moseley, Nottingham and Worcester Warriors, as well as Ealing Trailfinders, Cambridge University and the East Midlands Rugby Union.
Bedford Blues chairman Geoff Irvine, who is also chair of the Championship Clubs Committee at the RFU, said: “The Championship plays a vital role in English rugby and has produced many players who have gone on to play in the Premiership, and for England.
“We thought a tournament like this would be an ideal opportunity to show off the fantastic player development work that is carried out by the Championship clubs.
“The Championship academies play a key role in developing players for first team squads and you don’t have to look any further than here at Bedford to see that impact.
“We have seven players in our current squad who have come through the ranks at our academy, while many others have passed through and gone on to the Premiership and some to international accolades.
“We hope that the tournament will be a beneficial experience for the youngsters taking part. And you never know, in a few years some of them could be playing regular Championship, Premiership or international rugby.”
Further details on the tournament will be available through the website nearer the date with tickets priced at just £3.00 including a competition programme only available on the gate.