Bedford Blues skipper Nick Fenton-Wells insists his side do not need to rely on reinforcements from Saracens in order to challenge for the playoffs.
The South African is the first to admit that last season’s ninth-place finish was not an accurate representation of Bedford rugby, having
finished runners-up in 2013.
And this season sees eight Saracens youngsters being made available to Bedford at various points during the season, including England U20 World Cup winners Nathan Earle and Maro Itoje.
But Fenton-Wells, a former Saracens man himself, says the current crop of Bedford players have a point to prove for themselves.
“It’s great to have the Saracens boys here but there’s no doubt that the Bedford players want to show that we are not relying on them in order to do well,” he said at the Greene King IPA Championship launch.
“We’ve built a good squad for this season and going forward and there’s no doubt that this current group can take Bedford to the places they’ve been before.
“We will view the Saracens players as good, strong additions to the squad and we’ll certainly welcome them when they do arrive.
“There are a couple of the [Saracens] guys who have spent time here before, so it won’t be hard for them to integrate back into the squad.”
The Blues kick off their Greene King IPA Championship season away to last season’s fellow strugglers Nottingham this evening, following a final pre-season defeat to Saracens.
And Fenton-Wells admits that while the 47-3 result wasn’t a fair representation of the Blues’ performance, the opportunity to play against top class opposition is an invaluable experience for the squad.
“I spent my first two years over here with Saracens and it’s difficult to gauge whether I’m still up to that standard but it was good to play against some mates,” he continued.
“There was a lot of chat going on at the time - stuff that I was trying not to concentrate on - and there’s always some good banter.
“I hope my experiences with Saracens have allowed me to lead by example at Bedford.
“I don’t think there’s anything in particular with any one player that I can influence him with because everyone has their different style of
“You have your heroes in the game but you don’t mould yourself to one style of play, it’s about doing your own thing.
“If I can give the Bedford players the best opportunity to perform at their highest level then that’s all I can ask for.”
Formed in 2009, the Greene King IPA Championship is the second tier of professional rugby union in England.
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