Bedford Blues put in a resolute display but were ultimately undone by the might of Saracens and their 11 internationals, as the home side secured a commanding 54-13 victory at The StoneX Stadium.
A superb team try to put Pat Tapley in out wide was arguably the standout moment in the game, but Saracens’ eight scores meant it was a difficult afternoon in the capital for the visitors.
Despite the scoreline, there were some unbelievable defensive performances from the Blues, with Saints loanees Emmanuel Iyogun and Ollie Newman – alongside man-of-the-match Joe Atkinson – particularly standing out for their efforts.
FULL-TIME | Bedford Blues gave it everything but ultimately succumb to the star studded @Saracens.— Bedford Blues (@BedfordBluesRFC) April 11, 2021
A second half try from @PatrickTapley the high point from a difficult afternoon in the capital.
Lots of positives; onto Richmond next weekend.#BluesFamily #differentshadeofblue pic.twitter.com/6HFyF51pAo
Bedford’s starting line-up was bolstered by eight Saints; with Reuben Bird-Tulloch, Tommy Mathews, Connor Tupai, Iyogun, James Fish, Lewis Bean, Newman and Tui Uru all beginning the contest in North London – but Saracens welcomed back the likes of Maro Itoje, Elliot Daly and Mako Vunipola to their XV for the contest and were over the tryline inside six minutes.
Big second row Itoje grabbed his first try of the afternoon, sniping from close range, but after Manu Vunipola’s conversion was landed, Mathews – who finished the game with a 100% kicking record – reduced arrears with a penalty
Billy Vunipola went over on 16 minutes after some neat play on the right flank, before Itoje got his second following a charge down on a clearing kick to make it 19-3.
Another Mathews penalty closed the deficit, but Bedford couldn’t prevent Sarries wrapping up the bonus point by half-time as Billy Vunipola completed his brace after the ball fell kindly to the No.8 following a scrum.
Welshman Aled Davies added Saracens’ fifth try of the afternoon on 46 minutes, before Bedford’s best passage of play in the game; Newman made the initial 40m before Tupai picked up well from the base, exchanging passes with Rich Lane to put Tapley over in the corner.
Despite the introductions of Northampton’s Ed Prowse and Tom Litchfield, Janco Venter and Andy Christie both scored while Bedford’s Sean McCarthy was in the sin bin, and the scoring was completed by a Penalty Try to Sarries as Itoje looked to complete his hat-trick.
It was a valiant effort from the boys in blue, even if there were no points to bring back to Bedford, and attentions turn immediately to Richmond next Saturday as Blues look for a response.