Double swoop for Bedford Blues as duo sign

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Bedford Blues strengthened their ranks this week with two new sigings.

The double swoop saw Mike Rayer's men sign Tommy Herman from Olney RFC to add further depth in the front row, and also add the versatile Louis James from rivals Coventry.

Youngster Herman secured both the first XV Player of the Season and Players’ Player awards at Olney and, after spending, an extended period training with Blues last season now has a chance to play at Championship level.

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“I am really excited to be given this opportunity from Mike to make the step up and test myself in the Championship next season,” he said.

​Mike Rayer – Double swoop. Picture by B&O PRESS PHOTO.​Mike Rayer – Double swoop. Picture by B&O PRESS PHOTO.
​Mike Rayer – Double swoop. Picture by B&O PRESS PHOTO.

“Having trained with the squad for many months last season, that will hopefully make the transition of moving to Goldington Road much easier. A huge thanks to the squad for making me feel so welcome and staying behind after training to help work on extras.

“To have the chance to work for coaches with the level of experience of Mike, and Tom Cruse coming in as forwards coach, is something I’m extremely grateful for and I can’t wait to get back in and amongst it from July.

“I can’t thank the coaches at Olney RFC enough for all their help over the years in nurturing and developing me to get this chance. I hope I do them all proud when representing Bedford Blues.”

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Spending his entire senior career with the Buckinghamshire club, Herman has also benefited from East Midlands U20s experience, honing his craft and developing his all-round game in recent seasons.

Director of rugby Rayer said: “I went to watch Tommy at Olney several months ago and he stood out like a sore thumb to be fair, he was the best player on the field by a mile.

“Through our links to Northampton and Will Parkin who is coaching at Olney, we managed to get Tommy in to train with us on a regular basis.

“I’m really excited by him, he’s a real rough diamond that has got a real future, I genuinely believe that.

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"He’s played a lot of rugby for Olney, Moulton College and East Midlands and he’s got a great hunger for the game which we’ll look to develop even further.

“Tommy has been scrummaging with the lads for a few months and he’s belted a few in training as well which I’ve got a lot of time for! It’s just his pure enthusiasm, we’ve got a lot of experience in the front row staying on so it’s good to have that young hunger in there.”

Meanwhile, the capture of Louis James, 22, adds a huge amount of versatility to Mike Rayer’s backs division, able to cover all back three positions as well as outside centre.

Playing at full-back for Coventry last season, although has been more frequently found on the wing throughout his senior career, James has already made close to 50 appearances in the second tier.

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James said: “I'm really excited to get started at Bedford Blues.

“It’s a very family orientated club, I think the brand of rugby will suit me, and I'm looking forward to getting cracking in pre-season and meeting the rest of the squad.

“I can’t wait to wear the Blues shirt next season. I’ve always enjoyed playing at Goldington Road, the crowd have always got behind the team so I’m looking forward to having them on my side.

“Hopefully it’s going to be a class season and the club can build on the two strong finishes achieved in recent years.”

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Born in Northampton, James was a graduate of the Coventry Academy before stepping up to the first team and holding down a regular spot in the Matchday 23 ever since.

Adding a few tries along the way, James is able to provide another kicking option when required.

Rayer said: “We are really pleased to bring Louis to Goldington Road.

“He's still a young man, still aspirational, and has played really well against us when we've come up against Coventry.

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"His versatility will be important. We're pleased to have him on board and keen to see him grow into the Blues Way.

"He's another left footer so he offers us good balance, alongside Will Maisey and Dean Adamson. He's got more than that though - dangerous runner, good pace about him so he should fit in well here.”

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