International-filled Saracens too strong for Bedford Blues

Image: Blues vs Saracens (Credit: Claire Jones)

The Easter break came at the right time for Mike Rayer’s men, after three defeats from their first four Championship games, but the challenge took a step up as they travelled to Saracens this afternoon.

Not many Blues fans were feeling optimistic as they tuned into their streams, but Bedford put up a commendable fight against a Saracens side featuring nine full international players.

Saracens meanwhile, haven’t had things entirely their own way so far in their first season in the second tier, suffering defeat at Cornish Pirates, leaving them in 4th place.

The former European Champions boasted international caps galore, including the Vunipola brothers and Maro Itoje, tipped by some to become the British and Irish Lions captain.

Early signs were ominous, as Itoje opened the scoring for the hosts after just six minutes and with Billy Vunipola crashing over after a quarter of an hour; Saracens looked in the mood for a try fest.

However, Bedford didn’t let the early setback get to them as they defended doggedly, but when Connor Tupai’s kick was charged down by Itoje – who dotted down under the posts – the game looked all but done.

A fourth try before the half-time whistle gave Saracens their bonus point but not before the Blues could get on the board thanks to a Tommy Mathews penalty.

Five minutes into the second period, Saracens extended their advantage thanks to a try from Welsh international, Aled Davies; Itoje giving up his hat-trick in order to feed the scrum half.

Bedford winger, Pat Tapley, got Bedford into the try column five minutes later though, after Ollie Newman burst through the centre and fed the ball out wide to reduce the deficit to 33-13.

That’s as good as it got for the Blues however, as a familiar yellow card opened the floodgates for the hosts, Sean McCarthy spending ten minutes in the sin bin.

Mark McCall’s side immediately took advantage of the extra man with Janco Venter touching down from the resulting penalty, followed by an Andy Christie try extending the hosts’ lead.

A harsh penalty try was the final act of a hectic afternoon as Saracens prevailed 54-13.

It was a steep learning curve for Mike Rayer’s side, but their were positives to take from what was always going to be a tough challenge for the visiting team.

The Blues will look to bounce back against Championship new boys, Richmond next Saturday hoping to return to winning ways at Goldington Road.

Elsewhere in the Championship, Ealing Trailfinders continue to dominate as they beat the strong Cornish Pirates 38-10 to continue their 100% start to the season.

Doncaster Knights beat Jersey Reds 22-10 in the Channel Islands while Hartpury edged a cagey affair against Nottingham, 15-13 on Saturday afternoon.

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