Bedford have announced the signing of a familiar face as well as the re-signing of a club stalwart for the 2017/18 Greene King IPA Championship season.
Joining Blues over the summer will be second row star Alex Rae, 31, who announced earlier this month that he was leaving his role as assistant coach with Jersey at the end of the season.
Rae, who joined Bedford in 2009 from Northampton Saints having come through the Worcester Warriors Academy, was a key component of the Blues’ scrum before moving on to Wasps in 2013 and subsequently Jersey.
Speaking about the signing, Blues director of rugby Mike Rayer said: “As soon as we heard that Alex was returning to England from Jersey, I began making enquiries about his availability.
“We know Alex very well from the four years that he spent with us and although he has primarily been a coach this season, he was keen to get back out on the field.
“Alex is a natural leader on the field and I’m delighted that he will be back in the Blues scrum, directing traffic and giving his all for Bedford.”
Joining Rae in the scrum next season will be Paul Tupai who, amazingly, will be embarking on his 25th season as a professional.
When Tupai signed for Bedford in 2008 from Northampton Saints, nobody would have thought the number 8, who can also play in the second row, would still be going strong almost a decade later.
While he may drag the average age of the team up by several years, Tupai remains a vital member of the squad adding power and experience as well as being a role model to the club’s younger players.
Speaking about Tupai, Rayer said: “What more can be said about Toops? He is an extraordinary athlete and individual who continues to run around the park like a man half his age.
“When most professional rugby players would have hung their boots up manay years ago, Toops is as enthusiastic as ever and raring to go for ‘one more year’ at Goldington Road.”
Rae and Tupai grow an ever increasing list of confirmed Blues players for next season. Ben Adams, Dean Adamson, Justin Blanchet, Jordan Burns, Will Carrick-Smith, Elliot Clements-Hill, Ben Cooper, Ollie Dodge and Michael Le Bourgeois have all penned new deals while George Edgson (Wasps), Sean McCarthy (Jersey), Alex Penny (Ealing Trailfinders) and Jarad Williams (Doncaster Knights) have signed for next season.