It has been a frustrating few weeks for Bedford Blues following their sensational Boxing Day victory against Jersey, with postponements and free weeks scuppering their momentum.
However, the Battle of Bedfordshire is the perfect fixture to rekindle the competitive juices, as Mike Rayer’s team look to continue their pursuit of the higher echelons of the Championship table.
In a fixture that usually brings tries galore, the Blues have made seven changes from their escapades against Jersey; Karl Garside making his first start of the season at tighthead prop.
Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi also makes a return to the front row with the pack completed with a whole new back row as Oli Stedman starts alongside his namesake, Ollie Newman.
Connor Tupai starts at scrum half as the number nine jersey rotates again, with the final change seeing Louis Grimoldby start at inside centre for the first time, alongside the in-form Will Maisey.
Bedford Blues have won three consecutive home games now and occupy fifth place in the Championship, hot on the heels of Cornish Pirates and the aforementioned Reds.
The 11th meeting between the two Bedfordshire sides is sure to be a cracker, with previous affairs played on the edge, and have been high-scoring affairs.
This game starts a run of fixtures for six consecutive weekends, building in difficulty heading into February, and with only Will Biggs on the injury table, Mike Rayer will be looking for contributions from the entire squad.
The action kicks off at 15:00 at Goldington Road, with victory potentially taking Bedford up to third in the Championship table.
Bedford Blues Starting XV:
15. Rich Lane (C), 14. Matt Worley, 13. Jamie Elliott, 12. Louis Grimoldby, 11. Dean Adamson, 10. Will Maisey, 9. Connor Tupai; 1. Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, 2. Jack Hughes, 3. Karl Garside, 4. Jordan Onojaife, 5. Luke Frost, 6. JJ Tonks, 7. Ollie Newman, 8. Oli Stedman
Bedford Blues Replacements:
16. Jacob Fields, 17. Joey Conway, 18. Corrie Barrett, 19. Robin Williams, 20. Bailey Ransom, 21. Joe Atkinson, 22. Alex Day, 23. Pat Tapley