Bedford Blues in a cautious mood despite comprehensive defeat of Moseley
Following their impressive opening day victory against Moseley last weekend, Bedford Blues are in a cautious mood as they travel to Clifton Lane for the always tricky Championship tie against Rotherham.
A trip to South Yorkshire on a Sunday afternoon is always a big ask and the Blues know that the Titans will want to create their normal fortress especially following their first round loss away at London Scottish the previous week.
The Blues head up the M1 with an almost fully fit squad with the only exception being Chris Locke who is out for four weeks with a knee injury while James Stephenson and Alex Rae picked up minor knocks last weekend.
Looking ahead to Sunday’s game, Blues forwards coach Martin Hynes said: “A trip up to Rotherham is always a huge encounter and with it coming so soon into the season, it is sure to test our physical and mental attitude as a squad. I think that we’ve played Rotherham eight times in the last two seasons so it’s fair to say that we know a little bit about each other. Results at Clifton Lane always have to be earned so it’s going to take another big eighty for us to get what we want.
“Once again, Andre Bester has recruited some big boys in the forwards and in the backs so we are expecting a very attritional game. We’ve taken a look at their game against London Scottish and we can see that they have a very powerful squad who will be doing all they can to muscle us out of the game.
“We had a great start to the season last weekend but we also know that there is plenty of work to do if we want to push for a top four finish. It was extremely pleasing not to concede any tries against Moseley but Rotherham on their home ground will pose a far different challenge.”
Bedford make three changes to the team which ran in seven tries against Moseley with Ollie Dodge, Mike Howard and Ricky Reeves coming in for their first starts of the season in place of James Stephenson, Alex Rae and Dan Seal. Paul Tupai takes a place on the bench alongside Darren Fox who was unavailable last week due to family commitments.
Blues Starting Line-up:
15. James Pritchard (c)
14. Ollie Dodge
13. Brendan Burke
12. Henry Staff
11. Josh Bassett
10. Jake Sharp
9. Luke Baldwin
1. Ricky Reeves
2. Neil Cochrane
3. Phil Boulton
4. Mike Howard
5. Ben Gulliver
6. Gregor Gillanders
7. Sacha Harding
8. Don Barrell
Replacements: 16. Scott Spurling, 17. Ben Cooper, 18. Dan Seal, 19. Paul Tupai, 20. Darren Fox, 21. Darryl Veenendaal, 22. Ian Vass