Bedford Blues have continued preparations for the 2016/17 Greene King IPA Championship season with the addition of two new players and the re-signing of two current squad members.
Making their way to Goldington Road in the summer will be back rower Ben Adams and versatile forward Ed Taylor, while props Camilo Parilli-Ocampo and Jack Culverhouse have put pen-to-paper on new deals.
Adams, who turns 26 on Saturday, is a former Australian sevens star who is currently plying his trade at Cambridge.
He comes from a strong sporting pedigree, with his father having played rugby for Taranaki in New Zealand’s provincial competition, and his mother having previously represented Australia in touch football.
Taylor, 22, is the current captain of Loughborough Students and has represented England at U18 and 19 levels, as well as Wales Students.
He was also part of the Blues squad that took part in last season’s Mobbs Memorial game at Goldington Road.
Taylor already has some Championship experience, having featured for Rotherham Titans on a dual-registration deal while he was a member of the Worcester Warriors Academy.
Standing at six feet four inches tall and able to play in the second or back row, the powerhouse forward is set to add plenty to the Blues pack next season.
Speaking about the signings, Blues director of rugby Mike Rayer said: “Ben and Ed are two talented players who are going to add plenty of strength and skill to the pack next season and we are very fortunate to have them.
“Ben has had an exceptional season with Cambridge this season and he is more than ready to step up to the Championship and show just what he is capable of.
“Ed is a natural leader who has been at the heart of Loughborough Students. We’ve been very impressed by his style of rugby and it will be great to see him in a Blues jersey.”
Parilli-Ocampo, meanwhile, has signed up for a third year with the Blues having originally joined from Ealing Trailfinders in 2014.
The 26-year-old prop has benefitted from a spell in the Leicester Tigers Academy and made his Tigers first team debut during the 2010/11 Anglo-Welsh Cup ties against Ospreys and Bath. P
arilli-Ocampo was also part of Leicester’s Aviva Premiership Rugby ‘A’ League title winning side and was capped by England Students following his time with Loughborough Students in the national leagues.
Culverhouse, 21, is a man with a very bright future ahead of him. Signed by the Blues from Hertford last year, he has spent this season developing his game further with stints at Ampthill while also featuring for Saracens Storm.
After impressing in a Blues shirt during the Mobbs Memorial game last year, the former Oaklands College student will be looking to make his mark on the Blues first team this season.
Speaking about the duo, Rayer said: “Camilo is an explosive forward who always gives 100 percent out on the field and in training.
“He’s big, strong and a real nuisance - just what you want from your props and I’m delighted he is staying at Goldington Road.
“While Blues fans haven’t seen too much of Jack this season, he has really developed well throughout the year and I know that he’s excited about making a big impact next year.
“Jack has worked very hard to improve his all-round game since he first arrived on trial a couple of years ago and playing for Ampthill this season has been a real benefit to him and to us.”
Bedford return home this Saturday for a St George’s Day celebration in front of their loyal home supporters as Blues face Bristol for the first of three meetings in three weeks.
There will certainly be a party atmosphere in the air on Saturday as the Blues celebrate with an end of season party following the final whistle. Gates open at midday with kick-off at 3pm.