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Tom Cruse to join Bedford Blues as forwards coach

Tom Cruse will join Bedford Blues as forwards coach ahead of the 2024/25 season, with Northampton Saints’ partner club today announcing that the hooker will link up with them after he hangs up his boots at the end of the current campaign. 

Cruse – who announced his retirement from rugby last month – will take his first steps into full-time coaching at Goldington Road and joins following an illustrious playing career, including a nine-year stint in the Premiership. 

Ahead of his move to Blues, the hooker said: “Bedford are a big, traditional club and I’m very fortunate to have this opportunity. 

“It’s one I feel very privileged about, there’s a few familiar faces at the club – one of those being Michael Le Bourgeois from my time at Wasps. 

“It’s a really exciting challenge for me as I begin my coaching career, in a league that’s highly competitive.”

Tom Cruse

“I’m a massive advocate of the Championship, it’s a great place to help talent grow, and I’m eager to put my stamp on things to aid that.”

The 35-year-old will close out a nine-season career in the Premiership at the end of Saints’ season – having featured for London Irish, Wasps and Northampton in the league over that period. He also enjoyed spells with the United Rugby Championship’s Edinburgh Rugby and world-famous invitational side Barbarian F.C.

In his time in Black, Green and Gold so far, Cruse has made 14 appearances for Northampton, starting last season’s Premiership semi-final and scoring his first Saints try in the 2023/24 season-opener against Ealing Trailfinders.

And Cruse spent this season both representing Northampton and taking his first steps into the coaching career  – most notably being part of the Chinnor set-up which secured promotion to the Championship. 

Cruse added: “When I met Mike Rayer to talk about coming on board at Bedford, he spoke a lot about development; and that’s not just the players, but the coaches as well. 

“This being my first full-time coaching role, it was important to find the right fit. I’ve done a lot of coaching already in my journey, but that was whilst still playing, and it was that chance of development that really stuck out for me. 

“Knowing how James Craig and Jake Sharp developed there is a great example and they’ve both been brilliant for advice going through this transition and preparing to join Bedford.”

Tom Cruse

“I’m very relationship based in my coaching. It’s important to be approachable and that the players feel they can come and speak to you if there’s something on their mind.

“I’ve played under some great coaches and with some great players, so I think I’ve been able to assess what works and what doesn’t. I’m excited to put all that learning into practice with Bedford as I try to help the club achieve its ambitions.”

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