Bedford Blues will be making full use of their squad as they face Ampthill and Old Albanians in Saturday’s triangular friendly at Goldington Road.
The Blues will be taking on Ampthill at 2pm before facing Old Albanians at 3pm. Ampthill and Old Albanians will then go head-to-head at 4pm.
Blues director of rugby Mike Rayer has included new signings Piers O’Conor, Sam Blanchet, Myles Dorrian and Sam James in the team to face Ampthill, while Jordan Burns, Jack Culverhouse, Mark Flanagan and Joel Conlon line up against Old Albanians along with trialists Elliot Clements-Hill, Billy Harding and Brian Tuilagi.
Speaking about the two encounters on Saturday, Rayer said: “The lads have had two very hard blocks of conditioning and are in great shape on that front, however this weekend is what they should enjoy doing the most.
“There is plenty of competition for places and this is reflected in the two teams we’ve selected. Two or three of the guys in the squad are unavailable or injured but thankfully nothing long term.
“Saturday will give us the opportunity to try out a few things, take a good look at the signings we’ve made along with the trialists and it also gives the lads the opportunity to transfer what we’ve been doing on the training pitch into a competitive game.
“They may only be one half ‘friendlies’ but I’m sure that both Ampthill and Old Albanians will be throwing everything at us for those 40 minutes and it will be a great chance for us to show what we are capable of.”
Tickets for the only Bedford home friendly are just £5 for adults with free entry for under 16s. The Eagle stand will be open with seating being available on a first come first served basis.
But that’s not all. After the rugby is done and dusted, the Bedford players will be hosting a pre-season party in the Blues Marquee. From 6pm there will be an evening of fun, games and live music as fans get the chance to meet the squad and coaches.
Entry to the soiree costs just £5 and includes a welcome drink on arrival. The players will also be sparking up the BBQ and selling burgers and hot dogs while the dress code for the night is beachwear.
Starting line-up v Ampthill: 15. Piers O’Conor, 14. Sam Blanchet, 13. Henry Staff, 12. Michael Le Bourgeois, 11. Dean Adamson, 10. Myles Dorrian, 9. Peter White, 1. Camilo Parilli-Ocampo, 2. Sam James, 3. James Currie, 4. Mike Howard (c), 5. Harry Wells, 6. Justin Blanchet, 7. Josh Buggea, 8. Hayden Thomson-Stringer.
Starting line-up v Old Albanians: 15. Steffan Jones, 14. Pat Tapley, 13. Henry Staff/Piers O’Conor, 12. Myles Dorrian/Sam Blanchet, 11. Elliot Clement-Hill, 10. Jake Sharp, 9. Jordan Burns, 1. Jack Culverhouse, 2. Billy Harding, 3. Phil Boulton, 4. Paul Tupai, 5. Mark Flanagan, 6. Brian Tuilagi, 7. Nick Fenton Wells (c), 8. Joel Conlon