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Northampton Saints announce strategic partnership with Bedford Blues

Northampton Saints has today announced a strategic partnership with Championship rugby club, Bedford Blues.

The new, mutually beneficial collaboration will see Saints and the Blues formally cooperate on a number of playing, coaching and training opportunities. 

For the 2020/21 Championship season, Saints will exclusively make a number of academy and senior squad players available to the Championship outfit.

A coaching pathway between the two clubs has also been agreed, where Saints will make high quality, high potential young coaches available to Bedford’s coaching set-up in order for them to gain valuable experience in the second tier of English rugby.

In addition, Blues coaching staff will benefit from attending regular upskilling sessions with senior Saints coaches held at Franklin’s Gardens.  

The partnership also allows for joint training sessions between the two clubs when advantageous.

“I am delighted to be able to announce Saints’ strategic partnership with a club of the calibre of Bedford Blues,” said Northampton Saints Chief Executive, Mark Darbon.

“Like Saints, Bedford has a long and proud history, with close ties to its local community, so we believe it’s a natural fit.”

Mark Darbon, Northampton Saints Chief Executive

“The new partnership will be mutually beneficial, aiming to bring greater benefits to players and coaching staff at both clubs, as well as helping both organisations financially.

“We very much see this as a long-term relationship, which we hope could evolve further over time.” 

As part of the relationship, an annual pre-season fixture will also now be played, alternating each season between Franklin’s Gardens and Goldington Road, home of the Bedford Blues.

“Saints has a long history of producing high quality, homegrown talent and it is fundamentally important that this continues to be the case,” said Saints Director of Rugby, Chris Boyd.

“Our new relationship with Bedford ensures that we can continue to develop our best young players by securing them regular Championship game time in a highly-competitive environment.

“Having got to know Mike Rayer and some of the Blues coaches I’m confident that we’re working with excellent people who share a similar philosophy on rugby and I’m excited about what we can do together.”