Special Friday night lights as Bristol Bears come to Goldington Road

Rich Lane training for Bedford Blues in May 2022
Rich Lane joined Bristol from the Blues in May 2022 Image: Bedford Blues

Bedford Blues’ Director of Rugby, Mike Rayer has named a mammoth 30-man squad for the Friday night visit of Premiership side, Bristol Bears at Goldington Road.

This weekend was supposed to see the visit of reigning second tier champions, Jersey Reds, but the well documented collapse of the Channel Islanders left a free weekend which Bristol have filled for a friendly fixture under the floodlights.

The two sides may have met 80 times throughout history, but the recent connection can be made by full back, Rich Lane who made the move from Goldington Road to the south west in 2022; one of many Championship players to forge a Premiership career.

Lane has only made the bench for the Bears but will surely make an appearance as both sides continue to keep up their momentum heading into the business end of the rugby union season.

Eight changes for Blues

Granted an opportunity to give some much-needed minutes to some squad players, Mike Rayer has made eight changes from last week’s desperate last-minute loss to Hartpury.

Read: Bedford comeback not enough as Hartpury late try break Blues hearts

Jordan Venter comes in at inside centre with last week’s captain, Le Bourgeois dropping to the extended bench while Louis Grimoldby starts in the ten jersey alongside James Lennon, who gets a rare chance from the off at scrum half.

A new front row of Joey Conway, James Fish and the fit again Bryan O’Connor are joined by the returning Alex Woolford in the second row and Kieran Curran who is also back from injury.

With nothing on the line but pride, it’s sure to be an entertaining affair with the Blues’ former full back the centre of attention.

The now 34-year old, Lane will be welcomed back by an adoring Blues fanbase as he looks to increase on eight tries already scored this season in rugby’s top tier, and it will be a tough ask for Bedford given the Bears have won four of their last five Premiership encounters.

Tickets for Friday night’s game can still be bought here.

Bedford Blues Starting XV:

15. Matt Worley, 14. Sean French, 13. Jamie Elliott, 12. Jordan Venter, 11. Dean Adamson, 10. Louis Grimoldby, 9. James Lennon; 1. Joey Conway, 2. James Fish (C), 3. Bryan O’Connor, 4. Robin Williams, 5. Alex Woolford, 6. Jac Arthur, 7. Kieran Curran, 8. Cameron King

Bedford Blues Replacements:

Jamie Jack, Isaac Bell, Ed Prowse, Jordan Onojaife, Emeka Atuanya, Luke Frost, Geordie Irvine, Reuben Logan, Alex Day, Will Maisey, Jake Garside, Will Glister, Michael Le Bourgeois, Pay Tapley, Ewan Baker

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