Bedford Blues announce departure of Irish winger Seán French

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Seán French scores a try at Goldington Road for Bedford Blues
Seán French Image: Kie Fewster / 'X'

With signings and re-signings now hot on the Goldington Road agenda, the first big departure from Bedford Blues was announced today (7 June) as it was revealed winger, Seán French will be leaving the club.

French will be returning to Ireland for the 2024/25 season.

French’s two years at Goldington Road have been synonymous with try scoring; the Irishman scoring 39 in 52 appearances for Mike Rayer’s side, including finishing second in the Championship try scoring charts this season with 15.

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His 19 tries in all competitions almost led him to the rare feat of 20 tries in back-to-back seasons – only achieved by Dean Adamson and Ben Whetstone – but he will be remembered as yet another player who has come a long way under the tutelage of Rayer.

The Cork native moved from Munster to Goldington Road as a 22-year old in 2020 and grew into a bona fide try threat on the right wing with hat-tricks against Doncaster Knights and local rivals, Ampthill a particular highlight.

“I’m looking forward to returning to Goldington Road as a supporter next season and watching the boys run down that hill”, said French in a video message to supporters.

“Thank you to everyone in the Bedford Blues family for your support over the past two seasons and for helping to make Goldington Road a special place to play rugby.”

Slow start to rapid rise

By his own admission, Seán French had a tricky start as he settled into life in Bedford.

While the first few months saw French adjust to a new style of play, his form in the latter half of the 2022/23 season took off and from there, he became a staple of the Bedford Blues team sheet as the side created a potent attack on both wings.

French was subsequently named in the Rugby Paper’s Championship Team of the Season at the end of his debut season; a feat that he repeated this campaign as he finished one try behind Ealing’s Matt Cornish in the try scoring charts.

Seán French scores a try for Bedford Blues at Ealing
French runs in a consolation try in his last game for the Blues against Ealing Image: Claire Jones / ‘X’

There is some good news for the Blues fans early on in the off-season as the club have announced a quartet of key names who have re-signed.

Back row Joe Howard, who picked up the Players’ Player of the Season award at the club’s end-of-season ceremony in May, has re-signed for 2024/25 alongside captain, Alex Day, Will Maisey and Dean Adamson, who chases the all-time Blues try scoring record at Goldington Road.

Adamson and Howard have also been named in the Championship’s official Team of the Season.

However, Mike Rayer now has a task to replace French, but with plenty of time before the new campaign, there is no need to panic as the squad takes shape for the new season.