Blues sign one while three pen new deals

Pat Tapley has signed a new deal with Bedford
Pat Tapley has signed a new deal with Bedford

Bedford Blues have continued to strengthen their squad for the news season by bringing in scrum half Tom James from Loughborough Students, with Justin Blanchet, winger Pat Tapley and centre Ollie Dodge all signing new deals too.

James, 23, who can also play at fullback, has captained Loughborough as well as featuring in the England Students squad which lost out to France by three points last weekend.

Speaking about the signing, Blues director of rugby Mike Rayer said: “Scrum half is a vital position in any squad and it is important that we have a really good battle for the number nine shirt.

“Tom comes with a solid reputation, he has a very level head for a young man and he is also renowned for his kicking which will give us an extra option.”

Meanwhile, Blanchet, 22, has continued to grow and develop as a player since joining the Blues from Exeter in the summer of 2014, while Tapley, 25, has had a massive impact on the Blues squad since his arrival in 2013.

Dodge, 28, will be entering his 10th campaign with the Blues having originally joined on loan from Leicester Tigers in 2006, as Rayer added: “It is vitally important for us to continue developing as a team and I’m delighted to have Justin, Pat and Ollie commit for the coming season.

“Justin has had a good year, developed well and we are looking forward to seeing more of his abilities. Pat is an exceptional talent with electric pace, who has continued to work hard on his all-round game which is really pleasing.

“Ollie has been a constant professional since the day he first arrived at Goldington Road and I cannot quite believe that it has been ten years. He has pace, power and an excellent rugby mind which really benefits those around him.

“We have two huge games ahead of us in this campaign, but to have four more players secured form next season is a real boost and we hope to confirm a few more players in the coming days.”

The quartet join new signings Jacob Fields and Will Carrick-Smith for the 2016/17 season along with Sam James, Josh Buggea and Jordan Burns who have all signed new deals, and Myles Dorrian and Nick Fenton-Wells who head into the second year of their contracts.