Bedford Blues head coach Mike Rayer is anticipating a step up for his side when they travel to face Llanelli Scarlets at Parc y Scarlets this afternoon.
The Goldington Road side have enjoyed an excellent pre-season so far, beating Plymouth Albion last week, but Rayer knows they will have to up their game this weekend against the pro 12 club.
Rayer said “It’ll be a real step up for the boys playing a pro 12 club after playing teams from the league below, and I think it’s definitely what’s needed ahead of the tough fixtures ahead of us this season.
“We’ve got a big squad this time around and it’s been excellent giving them all a run out during the past two weeks, it’s what pre-season is all about.
“It’s always nice to have selection headaches and we haven’t had that for a long time at this club.
“It has definitely helped that most of the boys have stayed match fit throughout the pre-season and they’re all excited for the challenge on Saturday and the new season ahead of us.
“The quality of the group of lads we have playing for us now is high, and that’s definitely visible in training and the past two games we’ve played.”
The Blues are expected to take a 26 man squad with them to South Wales to compete in their final pre-season game against one of the strongest teams in Welsh Rugby.
Blues skipper Nick Fenton-Wells has suffered a back spasm and will not travel with the squad across the border along with Hayden Thompson- Stringer who also misses out with a hip injury.
This will be the final run out for Bedford before they travel to Bristol the following Sunday to mark the opening of the new Greene King IPA championship campaign.
Blues: 15. Steffan Jones; 14. George Perkins; 13. Michael Le Bourgeois; 12. Ollie Dodge; 11. Sam Blanchet; 10. Myles Dorrian; 9. Jordan Burns; 1. Camilo Parilli-Ocampo; 2. Charlie Clare; 3. Phil Boulton; 4. Harry Wells; 5. Mark Flanagan; 6. Justin Blanchet; 7. Josh Buggea; 8. Joel Conlon.
Replacements: 16. Sam James; 17. Jack Culverhouse; 18. James Currie; 19. Mike Howard; 20. Paul Tupai; 21. Pete White; 22. Jake Sharp; 23. Henry Staff; 24. Pat Tapley; 25. Dean Adamson; 26. Piers O’Conor.