Following Bedford Blues home defeat last Saturday, Director of Rugby, Mike Rayer is looking for a response from his players this weekend against Doncaster Knights in what promises to be a challenging test against the pool leaders.

Bedford lost out to Cross Keys in their first home match of the British and Irish Cup last Saturday after a fast-paced first quarter left them 19-3 up, but a strong second half fight-back from the Welshmen saw them claim a last minute try to clinch victory.

The mood in camp however remains confident with defeat already put behind them and a determination to bounce back at Castle Park this Saturday to leave them leading the group alongside this week’s opposition.

Ahead of this weekend, Rayer said: “To have played so well for 25 minutes and then to see it all unravel over the next 55’ was pretty disappointing and there was a lot of hurt around after the game across the whole group, players and management.

“We missed opportunities and it’s tough to take, but it wasn’t for lack of effort as we made 27 tackles in the last phase of play. I was disappointed we didn’t get the ball to the wingers’ hands as much as we wanted to last week, compared to the week before but we’re not panicking, we’ve shown signs of progression over the month.

“We’ve got to get back to what we were doing so well in the previous games and that’s moving the ball around. Of course we’re always looking to improve our defence as well, conceding three tries last week hurts at home. We focused on the contact area going into the game, but because we didn’t hold on to the ball, we didn’t really have too many contact area situations after the first 20 minutes. We can’t blame the set-piece either as that is looking a strong weapon for us this season.

“Once you’ve put the previous week to bed, we’re always looking forward to the next game and the lads are pretty robust, they’ve worked hard this week and are determined to turn last weekend’s result around and keep ourselves in with a fighting chance in this group. This competition is important to us and we want to try and progress as far as we can and we’ll be going all out to try and get a result on the weekend.”

Commenting on Doncaster, Rayer added: “I think their spell in National One last season has been a real help to them, they’ve managed to keep the core of their team together and obviously going through that division, winning lots of games has given them real confidence. They certainly brought that into the start of this season and they’re playing with some real freedom and width, with good structure as well, they are a threat in every aspect.

“I think their biggest ally is in terms of coaching personnel and their experience within that pack of forwards, there’s a lot of highly experienced players so we’re under no illusions the size of the task. We’ve had our odd wins up there, but they have been odd so we know we’re in for a tough afternoon and we’ve got to be somewhere near to our best to get the result we want.

“We are focused on getting a victory this weekend and the determination in the boys is great, you can feel it in the group, but it’s not going to be easy and we just hope we come out on the right end of it against what is an exceptionally strong Donny.”

Next Home Match

Friday 23rd August
1st XV Pre Season
Goldington Road