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Blues all set for Exiles challenge

11 October 2011

  • Bedford back on the road following Pirates win
  • Rayer tries out some new talent for Cup clash
Bedford Blues in British & Irish Cup action 

Photo: RFU Archive

Following a mammoth journey to Penzance at the weekend, there is no respite for Bedford Blues as they get set to face London Welsh in the second round of matches in the British & Irish Cup.

Following an impressive win over the Cornish Pirates, Bedford will be hoping to build on that success and maintain their winning start to the competition that they came so close to winning last term.

Director of Rugby Mike Rayer takes the opportunity to try out some new talent with loanee Ben Buxton and Academy player Alex Awenat getting starts at tighthead prop and centre respectively, while Don Barrell once again captains the side from number eight.

Championship table toppers London Welsh will be out to continue their winning start to the British & Irish Cup when they entertain the Blues at Sunbury on Wednesday (October 12, 7:30pm).

The Exiles lead the way in Pool 4 following their opening round bonus-point win at London Scottish, while Beford made a similarly impressive start to Pool 3 by running in nine tries in a 62-30 victory over Esher.

Jones rings in the changes

For the Welsh, Lyn Jones makes 14 changes from the starting line up that beat Moseley 41-16 on Saturday to send the Exiles back to the top of the Championship table.

Fly half Alex Davies is the only player to retain his place, while there’s a first start at full back in Welsh colours for Gerard Mullen, who joined the Exiles in the summer from Esher.

There’s also a welcome return to Shawn Pittman, fresh from his Rugby World Cup exploits with the USA. Ben Russell, who scored two of Welsh’s tries in their round 1 win at Scottish, takes over the captain’s armband.

With the game taking place at Sunbury, there’s a suitable London Irish feel to proceedings with on loan scrum half Jack Moates and second row Gary Johnson both starting, while replacement scrum half Ben Stevenson also returns to the ground he once called home.

The Dragons and the Blues have already crossed paths once already this season, when Bedford came out on top 22-18 in their Championship meeting at Goldington Road last month.

London Welsh

Gerard Mullen; Ashley Smith, Paul Mackey, Simon Whatling, Liam Gibson; Alex Davies, Jack Moates; Shawn Pittman, Saul Nelson, Billy Moss, Gary Johnson, Lee Purdy, Lee Beach, Mike Denbee, Ben Russell (c).

Replacements: Vili Ma’asi, Guillermo Roan, Mike Powell, Epi Taione, Ben Stevenson, Seb Jewell, James Lewis.

Bedford Blues

Mark Kohler; Dave Vincent, Alex Awenat, Ollie Dodge, Josh Bassett; Jake Sharp, Darryl Veenendaal; Sam Walsh, Chris Locke, Ben Buxton, Sam Pailor, Mike Howard, Billy Johnson, George Messum, Don Barrell (c)

Replacements: Neil Cochrane, Ben Campbell, Sean Tomes,  Alex Rae, Ali Price, Jamie Lennard, Tom Bedford