After a very busy and exciting pre-season schedule, it is now down to the serious business of Championship rugby once again.
The Reds kicked-off in style on the opening day last weekend. Winning 7-47, we recorded our biggest ever opening day winning margin in the Championship as well as beating London Scottish by our widest ever margin. While a very good performance, there is still plenty of upside to come from this squad, which bodes well for the season.
Our visitors this weekend – the Bedford Blues – are one of rugby’s great old clubs and we are proud to be hosting them once more. We welcome all their supporters, officials and rugby personnel and hope they have a great time in our Island.
Due to the 11 team league structure, the Blues had a ‘bye’ in week 1, so I am certain they will be chomping at the bit to get their campaign started.
We recently announced that the Reds will be hosting Eddie Jones’ England squad for the final week of October as they prepare for their 3 autumn internationals. We will shortly be announcing an exciting programme of events that will include a Reds’ minis and juniors training session, a dinner with Eddie and his fellow coaches and an open training session. We hope you will be able to enjoy some of these special occasions.
It is great to be back at the Stade and to welcome back all our loyal supporters.
Come on you Reds!!
Mark Morgan, Chairman
Bedford Blues may be playing their first Championship match of the season on their visit to Jersey after a bye in round 1, but players have plenty of rugby in their legs already.
The Blues have played four pre-season games over the past month and have certainly shown they retain their ability to find the try-line, racking up 21 tries across the four games.
Two of the games were ‘Battle of Bedfordshire’ derbies against local rivals Ampthill, each of which was won by the home side. A late try helped Amps to a 40-38 win at Dillingham Park, but two weeks later Bedford’s Will Maisey struck a late penalty to give his side a 38-35 win at Goldington Road.
The other pre-season games both featured opposition from the Gallagher Premiership: Northampton Saints won 40-21 at Goldington Road, and last Saturday the Blues beat Saracens Storm 47-33.
In last season’s truncated Championship campaign, the Blues finished the season in eighth, and their match against the Reds at Goldington Road ended in a 20-25 win for the visitors from Jersey. Overall the Reds have won 10 of the 17 league and cup matches between the sides since 2012, with seven wins to Mike Rayer’s side.
Meet the opposition
Comfortable at second or back row, Luke Frost has taken to Bedford like a duck to water having scored twice last weekend against Saracens Storm and been one of the most consistent players across Blues’ four pre-season outings.
The 23-year-old joined Mike Rayer’s squad over the summer from Nottingham and, alongside a previous stint with London Scottish, has already racked up close to 50 appearances in the Championship ahead of Bedford beginning their campaign this afternoon.
His desire to play in the truncated 2021 season stood out to Rayer and after starring in Nottingham’s victory over Bedford in May, Blues made their move to get in-front of the waiting queue and secure his services this season.
One of the most consistent operators at this level, Frost will be looking to carry his pre-season form into the Championship as Blues look to make a strong start to the campaign.
The first name on the Blues team sheet, Bedford born Rich Lane has been one of the league’s most dependable players since moving to Goldington Road in 2017 and has been rewarded for his services by being named captain last season.
The former Jerseyman was Bedford’s joint top try-scorer in the truncated campaign and was the only back to start every game for the club throughout the season. He is set to become the latest member into Bedford’s century club by making his 100th club appearance later in the campaign.
The 28-year-old heads into his fifth campaign at Goldington Road possessing statistics of 28 tries in 79 appearances, and the added incentive of attempting to beat his personal best tally, 13 tries achieved in his debut season with the club.