Bedford Blues and Northampton Saints announce ground-breaking partnership

Bedford Blues in action at Goldington Road. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Bedford Blues say they have been given a "lifeline" after the club announced a new strategic partnership with Northampton Saints.

The deal will see Premiership side Saints make a number of first team and academy players available to Bedford, either on loan or on a dual-registered basis.

Championship club Bedford will also be able to call on some of the Saints' young coaches, and the two clubs could also stage joint training sessions.

As part of the new relationship, an annual pre-season fixture will be held as well.

It's hoped the partnership will allow some of the Saints' players and coaches to gain experience in the Championship.

"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," said Saints director of rugby Chris Boyd.

The home of Northampton Saints, Franklin's Gardens. Credit: PA

Bedford and other Championship clubs are facing a worrying future as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and cuts to second tier funding.

However, chairman Geoff Irvine believes the new link-up with Saints will give them a much better chance of survival.

"We are very pleased to be able to make this announcement, not only does the relationship give us fantastic access to their players and resources, but it is a lifeline to our club in the present situation.

"Saints is the natural fit, our near neighbours with a shared passion for history and heritage. This long-term partnership will help safeguard our Championship status and allow us to build for the seasons ahead."