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Rugby Union: Bedford Blues plot course to British and Irish Cup semi-final

By Bedfordshire On Sunday  |  Posted: April 03, 2013

Mike Rayer

Mike Rayer

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Mike Rayer hopes that the Bedford Blues faithful will be a key factor as his side look to topple Llanelli in the quarter-finals of the British and Irish Cup on Saturday.

Blues head into the last eight clash with the Welsh outfit as top seeds in the competition having claimed bonus point victories in all of their pool games.

Director of Rugby Rayer, a former Wales international, is looking forward to the Battle of Britain.

“We’ve been lacking home games as of late due to the wintery conditions and the way that the fixtures have fallen, so to have a good old fashioned knockout cup tie at 3pm on a Saturday will be a huge boost for us,” he said.

“That’s the real bonus we have, and it is something that we worked so hard to achieve, home advantage at this stage of the competition could prove vital.

“We know that the Goldington Road faithful act as a 16th man and we are certainly going to need as much support as possible this weekend.”

Llanelli were beaten by Bedford’s Championship rivals London Scottish and Moseley in their pool, but they won their other four games to reach the knockout stage.

They could be bolstered on Saturday by the inclusion of several players from town neighbours Scarlets, as the Pro 12 outfit are not in action.

Blues reached the British and Irish final in 2011, when they were beaten 17-14 Bristol, and they have clashed with Llanelli twice in the competition.

The last meeting was an enthralling 25-25 draw at Goldington Road in December, 2011.

A last gasp try from Luke Baldwin, which was converted, was enough to level the game but Blues still went out of the competition.

Before that it finished 36-24 to the Blues in November, 2009.

“We reached the final in this competition a couple of seasons ago and we’d love to do that again and hopefully go one step further,” Rayer said.

“I’m appealing to all rugby fans to get down to Goldington Road and help the lads into the semis.”

The winners of Saturday’s tie will face Newcastle Falcons or Nottingham in the last four.

Tickets for the British and Irish Cup quarter final are available online up until Friday at 11am from www.bedfordrugby.co.uk. There’s a £2 discount for adults and some seats normally reserved for season ticket holders are now on sale. Gates then open at 12pm Saturday if you choose to buy your ticket at the turnstiles on match day.

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