Bedford Blues v Yorkshire Carnegie: Coach Stirling’s settled squad hoping to give Bedford blues

Chris Stirling.Chris Stirling.
Chris Stirling.
Yorkshire Carnegie director of rugby Chris Stirling has made four changes to his side for tonight’s trip to third-placed Bedford Blues as Yorkshire return to action in the Greene King IPA Championship.

Carnegie pushed league leaders London Irish all the way in Sunday’s Championship Cup semi-final and Stirling has kept a settled team for the trip to Goldington Road.

Winger George Watkins has been ruled out with a knee injury which means Andy Forsyth returns at centre with Elijah Niko reverting to the wing.

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The other injury-enforced change is in the forwards where second row Cian Romaine has been ruled out for the season with an injury to his kidney. Skipper Richard Mayhew moves to second row with Josh Bainbridge coming into the back row.

Andy Forsyth.Andy Forsyth.
Andy Forsyth.

Stirling has rotated his front-row options with prop Craig Mitchell and hooker Joe Buckle starting this week having come off the bench against Irish.

On the bench, Nic Mayhew, Andrew Foster and Faatiga Lemalu all return to the squad.

Meanwhile, Blues coach Paul Tupai knows his side will need to be on top form to get anything out of tonight’s game.

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He said: “Carnegie are a tough bunch to break down and we know that they’ll be looking to build on some decent form of late.

Elijah Niko.Elijah Niko.
Elijah Niko.

“They were very good against us a few weeks ago but we are expecting a big performance from the boys in front of the home fans.

“The lads have had a week off to recuperate and have been fresh and excited in training this week so we’re all looking forward to seeing that out on the pitch on Friday night.”

The Blues are without Lewis Robling for the clash after he suffered a fractured eye socket, but Saracens youngster Dom Morris has joined on dual registration and heads straight into the starting line-up alongside Jake Sharp who gets the nod at fly-half.

The pack remains the same as the one that started against London Scottish a fortnight ago but Ed Coulson has returned from injury to take a place among the replacements.

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