Bedford Blues will be making the trip to Sixways this evening to face Worcester Warriors the Greene King IPA Championship and no doubt memories of their last visit will be firmly in everyone’s mind.
The Blues were minutes away from causing a major upset in the 2011 Championship semi-final when they led the Warriors – who had stormed their way through the league that season 22-16, but a late Kai Horsmann try was to break Bedford hearts when it was converted by Joe Carlisle.
Six players who featured in that memorable semi-final are still with the Blues and five of them – Paul Tupai, Mike Howard, Phil Boulton, Darryl Veenendaal and Jake Sharp - will start at Sixways with James Pritchard the only exception due to international duties with Canada.
Looking ahead to Friday night’s encounter with Dean Ryan’s men, Blues Director of Rugby Mike Rayer said: “I’m sure that a lot of Blues fans will have fond memories of our last clash with Worcester, so hopefully we can re-create that same level of performance on Friday evening.
“Going to Worcester at this stage will certainly test us especially as our recent form has been indifferent, and, on top of a mounting injury list that just keeps growing we’ll need to show some real character and guts.”
On top of Billy Moss (knee), Henry Staff (thigh) and Hayden Stringer (Aakle) the Blues picked up injuries in the last outing to Michael LeBourgeois (knee and ankle), James Currie (ribs) and Eoin Sherrif (Achilles).
With James Pritchard away on international duty, Harry Wells on loan to Leicester Tigers and the news that Steffan Jones has been called back to Wales for their 7’s team after Friday’s game, then it’s a case of all hands to the pump for the next couple of months.
Blues: 15. Jim Wigglesworth; 14. Pat Tapley; 13. Ollie Dodge; 12. Viliami Hakalo; 11. Dean Adamson; 10. Jake Sharp; 9. Darryl Veenendaal;
1. Camilo Parilli-Ocampo; 2. Jared Saunders; 3. Phil Boulton; 4. Mike Howard; 5. Paul Tupai (c); 6. Justin Blanchet; 7. Josh Buggea; 8. Joe Vandermolen.
Replacements: 16. Charlie Clare; 17. Tom Williams; 18. Ben Gulliver; 19. Nick Fenton-Wells; 20. Darrell Dyer; 21. Peter White; 22. Steffan Jones.