Bedford Blues head coach Mike Rayer has admitted that his squad are excited to take on Bristol in their first game of the new campaign.
Bristol, who are coached by former England head coach Andy Robinson, narrowly missed out on promotion to the Premiership last season and they will be setting their sights high again this year.
Rayer said: “They had a quality side last season and were quite unlucky to miss out on promotion but we now focus on the start of this season and put last season behind us.
“There is never an easy time to play Bristol whether it’s home or away; Ashton Gate is a brilliant stadium with a big bunch of supporters who know how to get behind their team.
“We can’t really focus on any weakness of Bristol because we’re yet to see them play this season, so the key area we need to focus on is our own game and let Bristol focus on theirs.”
Bedford will have to take the long journey down without two of their key players in Joel Conlon and Phillip Boulton, but the Blues go in to the game on the back of a confidence-boosting 27-13 win over Llanelli Scarlets.
Rayer added: “Our defensive line against the Scarlets was fantastic and there’s no reason we can’t carry it on in to the new season.
“We played fantastic on Saturday and we will look to carry on that performance against Bristol on Sunday in our first game of this season’s campaign.”
He continued: “It’s definitely a lot easier to focus on a team’s weakness after seeing them play, but I’m confident with our own game and it should be a great match,