Bedford Blues quartet sign fresh contracts

Sacha Harding and Brendan Burke
Harding and Burke are among those to have signed new deals with the Blues

Flanker Sacha Harding, full-back Brendan Burke, and props Phil Boulton and Sam Walsh have all agreed new one-year deals with Bedford Blues.

Harding, 28, has been at Goldington Road for a decade and the contract will see him through his testimonial year.

Blues director of rugby Mike Rayer said: "It has been a great week for us in securing four new signings.

"But just as important is signing four excellent players who continuously put their bodies on the line for the club."

Burke, 29, joined Bedford from Rotherham in 2007, and 24-year-old Boulton and 29-year-old Walsh followed from the same club a year later.

Rayer continued: "It comes as no surprise to hear that players at this club attract Premiership attention, but it is testament to the set-up we have that they want to stay and try and take Bedford to the next level.

"Sam, Phil, Brendan and Sacha all had huge seasons for us despite all four picking up serious knocks throughout the year.

"Some players may have dwelled on injuries, but these lads wanted to get fit and wanted to get back into the swing of things as quickly as possible and they will all be champing at the bit for the start of the new campaign."

Bedford were beaten 23-22 by eventual winners Worcester in the Championship play-off semi-final on 1 May.

And Rayer has quickly looked to build on his current squad in preparation for next year's campaign, securing the signings of flanker Jon Fisher, prop Nico Steenkamp, centre Henry Staff and wing Mark Kohler this week.

Rayer added: "Everything is going really well for us and we are quickly establishing a very impressive looking squad for next season, which is built on the strong foundation of this year's squad."