Blues snap up five Saracens youngsters on dual registration deals

Bedford Blues' Mike Rayer
Bedford Blues' Mike Rayer

Bedford Blues will be working closely once again with Premiership and European Champions Saracens next season as five promising youngsters - including three members of the England U20 squad - move to Goldington Road for the 2016/17 Greene King IPA Championship campaign.

The likes of Owen Farrell, George Kruis, Jackson Wray, James Short, and Will Fraser all gained valuable experience with the Blues before going on to make a huge impact with Saracens and the same is hoped for the current crop who will be heading up the M1 from Allianz Park.

Heading to Goldington Road next season will be full back Matt Gallagher, winger George Perkins and prop Billy Walker - who are all currently in action at the World Rugby U20 Championship in Manchester - along with prop Hayden Thompson-Stringer and scrum half Tom Whiteley.

All five players could be stepping out on the Goldington Road pitch when Bedford face Saracens in a pre-season friendly on Friday, August 19.

The Premiership and European champions will, as usual, be sending one of their strongest squads to face the Blues in what could be their only encounter on home soil ahead of the new Premiership season.

Speaking about the signings and Saracens encounter, Blues Director of Rugby Mike Rayer said: “Everyone is aware of the close links between Bedford and Saracens and I’m delighted that we will once again benefit from this arrangement.

“There are some very exciting prospects on their way to Goldington Road next season and we are looking forward in helping accelerate their development by playing Championship rugby.

“It is also a pleasure to be able to welcome Mark McCall, his men and, hopefully, their two trophies to Goldington Road in August for a huge encounter ahead of the season curtain-raiser.

“We’ve enjoyed some great games against Saracens over the years and it is always an excellent yardstick to see how our preparations for the Championship season are going.”

Saracens Director of Rugby, Mark McCall said: “The agreement between Saracens and Bedford continues to be a great service to both clubs. Many players have gained valuable experience within the Championship before making the transition to the Premiership and we look forward to continuing this work.”

Saracens Academy Manager Don Barrell added: “The relationship we have with Bedford is huge. All the players who have been to Goldington Road have really benefitted from their time there and learnt so much under the guidance of Mike Rayer and his coaches.

“I hope that the latest crop of players take their opportunity and show everyone what they are capable of.”

The game against Saracens will kick off at 7.45pm on Friday, August 19 with the Premiership and European trophies being presented at half-time.

Tickets for the game will be available online next week with the following prices: Adult Online Seated £14 match day £18, Adult Ground Entry £10 match day £14, Kids Online Seated £6 match day £6, Kids Online Ground £1 match day £1, Students Seated £6, Students Ground £4.