Blues face key clash at old rivals Coventry to keep cup hopes alive

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Tui Uru in March's Bedford Blues vs Coventry game in March 2022
Tui Uru in 2022's encounter against Coventry (Image: Claire Jones / Bedford Blues)

After a superb second half display under the Friday night Goldington Road lights against London Scottish last weekend, Bedford Blues Championship Cup hopes are still alive, but they must win their two remaining pool games to stand a chance of qualification.

The first of those two is against old rivals Coventry at Butts Park Arena on Saturday afternoon; a venue that has seen Mike Rayer’s side narrowly miss out in recent times but with qualification on the line, the Blues Director of Rugby will be hoping that can change.

While Bedford Blues have enjoyed a successful Championship season so far, the same can be said for Saturday’s opponents who sit third in the league standings and are playing with huge confidence after comfortably seeing off the Knights last weekend.

Four changes for the Blues

Coventry also have an Ealing scalp to their name and will once again provide stiff opposition, and with that in mind, Mike Rayer has made four changes to his starting line-up with the possibility of introducing big names from the bench.

The most notable of the introductions is Jamie Elliott who returns to the side from injury and takes the captain’s armband while Alex Day continues to warm a space on the substitute’s bench with the impressive Jake Garside continuing at scrum half.

Lewis Holsey and Ed Prowse come in either side of Aston Gradwick-Light in the front row while the fourth and final change sees Robin Williams join the pack.

Bedford Blues' Louis Grimoldby in their charity pink kit
Bedford Blues’ Louis Grimoldby in their charity pink kit (Image: Claire Jones)

Louis Grimoldby holds on to his place in the number ten jersey alongside Garside, although the Championship’s leading point scorer Will Maisey occupies a spot amongst the subs against his old side with Le Bourgeois also on a strong bench.

Even what would be an impressive victory here would not guarantee the Blues a spot in the semi-finals for they would then need to beat pool leaders Doncaster Knights and then hope other results in other groups go their way.

It does however give Rayer a chance to give the fringes of his squad some minutes ahead of what is a congested finish to the regular season.

Tickets are still available for the encounter at Butts Park Arena and can be purchased here.

 

Bedford Blues Starting XV:

15. Matt Worley, 14. Seàn French, 13. Jamie Elliott (C), 12. Ethan Grayson, 11. Pat Tapley, 10. Louis Grimoldby, 9. Jake Garside; 1. Lewis Holsey, 2. Aston Gradwick-Light, 3. Ed Prowse, 4. Robin Williams, 5. Emeka Atuanya, 6. Luke Frost, 7. Charles Rylands, 8. Kieran Curran

Bedford Blues Replacements:

16. Jack Hughes, 17. Monty Royston, 18. Corrie Barrett, 19. Tui Uru, 20. Jac Arthur, 21. Alex Day, 22. Will Maisey, 23. Michael Le Bourgeois