JIM ENJOYING PRITCHARD CHALLENGE

Jim Wigglesworth may be in awe of James Pritchard’s legacy at Bedford Blues but he is intent on making sure the legendary full-back is not a sure-fire starter upon his return to the club.

Pritchard is the Blues’ all-time leading point scorer and at 35 is still going strong for both club and country, as part of Canada’s squad for this year’s autumn internationals.

And though losing their evergreen No.15 is a blow the Blues could do without, one person making the most of his absence is new signing Wigglesworth.

The 22-year-old arrived from National Two South’s Cambridge in April and after being given the nod at full-back last weekend, scored his first Greene King IPA Championship try in a narrow victory over Yorkshire Carnegie.

It was one small step on the road to emulating Pritchard – and he insists poring over the veteran’s habits on video has already given him a leg-up.

“It’s huge to sit down and watch video and see exactly what he’s doing,” he said. “Whenever I do, he always seems to be in the right place at the right time and making the right decisions. Sometimes I watch him and think ‘I wouldn’t have done that’ but he knows exactly what to do.

“I’ve got a great opportunity this month, I knew that he would be away on international duty and it’s gone OK so far.

“In some respects I want to make it hard for him as possible to get back into the line-up, and I think that’s what everyone wants at the club – great competition. I’m looking forward to the challenge of keeping him out.

“I don’t really take the view that I’m the person to replace him when he retires, he has a huge legacy and when someone’s a record point-scorer you don’t start thinking about whether you can get to that level. I’ve got to take it one step at a time.”

Wigglesworth’s next chance to impress is in the trip down to Cornish Pirates this Sunday and with Bedford perched sixth in the table, he admits their season stands at a crossroads.

“The club has been quite open on targeting a top four spot to get into the play-offs and this week is a huge part of getting there, we’re at a key stage of the season now,” he added.

“We’ve experienced playing down in Cornwall in the cup already and we know how difficult it is, the Cornish love their rugby and to get those fans around you and making themselves heard is quite an experience. But it’s a type of game you want as a player, when the place is bouncing.”

Next Home Match

Friday 23rd August
1st XV Pre Season
Goldington Road
Kick-Off
7.45pm

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