News and comment from around the clubs and what the papers say.
Tthe two clubs have confirmed that no fewer than ten players will travel from Vicarage Road to Goldington Road for the 2012/13 season.
Last season, eight Saracens players were dual registered with Bedford but due to the Rugby World Cup and an unprecedented number of injuries to other members of the squad, most were needed by the parent club.
Over the past week, the two clubs have been in discussions to put a plan into place which will see nine Saracens youngsters being dual registered with the Blues while scrum half Luke Baldwin will join Bedford on a season long loan following the Premiership sides pre-season campaign.
The nine players joining on dual registration will be Will Fraser (back row), George Kruis (second row), Ben Ransom (full back), Scott Spurling (hooker), Sam Stanley (centre), James Short (wing), Duncan Taylor (centre/wing), Mako Vunipola (prop), Jackson Wray (back row).
Both clubs have seen how beneficial the link-up has been in recent seasons and it is hoped that the new plan will ensure that the relationship between the clubs continues to move forward.
Speaking about the agreement for the coming season, Bedford Blues Chairman Geoff Irvine said: “We are very excited with the level of commitment shown by Saracens in making this relationship work. The quality of the players dual registered this coming season is outstanding, we are very happy with our recruitment and I think that everyone will be looking forward to returning to training at the end of the month.”
Saracens Chief Executive Edward Griffiths added: “This is a partnership between equals, with each party getting more than it gives. That is why the Bedford-Saracens link has been so successful in recent seasons, and that is why it will continue to be successful.”
The Scottish international iss Liam Middleton's sixth signing of the summer.
Described as a fleet-footed, agile and powerful performer, the former Wales under 21s and Wales 7s player, now aged 27, arrives from Newport Gwent Dragons for whom he made his debut against Ulster in September, 2009.
Born in Graig, Pontypridd, Tom played for his hometown club and later for Cardiff Blues (2006-08) and Newport RFC.
Both are forwards and have come through the Jersey RFC Academy
Keyte, 21, has been part of the Academy at the Recreation Ground since June 2009 and was last season dual registered with Bristol in the Championship.
A bright scrum half, who can spot an opening, Keyte is blessed with a fine pass, good communication skills and a sound kicking game.
He made his first team debut for Bath at Welford Road against Leicester Tigers in January 2010 in the Anglo-Welsh Cup. He has also impressed for Bath in the ‘A’ league.
Originally from London, Keyte first came to the attention of Harlequins, joining the club’s Academy at the age of 14, before his studies took him to Bath University and the Rec.
He was part of the England Under 18 side which secured third place in the 2008 AER Championship.
He also represented England at Under 16 and played for Surrey at County level. His former clubs include Crawley RFC and he has also represented Bath University, and earlier this year was called up by England Students to face Portugal, Wales Students and Emerging Italy.
“I’m still quite young and the club’s ambitions match my own, and working with Lyn [Jones] will be a huge bonus in terms of my development,” said Keyte. “That was a big factor; you always want to work with the best coaches.
“I’m friends with a few of the guys at Welsh and I’ve had really good feedback in terms of the coaching and player development. The guys said the environment is really friendly and it’s a real family club.
“At Bath I didn’t really feel I got the opportunities I needed to develop. I’m hoping being at London Welsh will give me the chance to get a bit more game time to help me develop as a player.”
London Welsh Head Coach Lyn Jones said: “Matt is a young lad like so many in England who has struggled to get enough opportunities to play at the top level.
“He has a good work ethic and an exceptional pass, and will complement the other guys we have in our squad.”
Caves, the former England Counties, U21 and U18’s hooker who will be in his twelfth senior season with the club having come right through the club’s Mini and Junior section, is on his way towards the most appearances at the club by a forward.
The new ‘complete’ back row featuring Buster Lawrence, Nigel Burrows and Olly Robinson will vie for game time against the experienced trio of Neil Mason, Ben Pienaar and Ben Pons.
Buster made 26 appearances for Dings in National 2 South during 2011/12 including 25 starts. He also appeared for Moseley Development XV last season and is a highly promising Number 8 who can also play flanker & 2nd Row.
The club is always particularly delighted to sign Moseley produced players and former Moseley Colt Nigel Burrows comes into the 1st XV squad. The 6’2” flanker made 24 appearances for Bromsgrove in National Division 2 North last season, including an impressive try tally of 15.
Olly Robinson joins from Loughborough Students having made 26 Appearances in National Division 2 North having previously played for England at Under 18s and represented Gloucester in the JP Morgan 7s series.
The highly regarded open-side flanker will undoubtedly have good technique with the benefit of specialised coaching from a young age by his father Andy – the current Scotland Head Coach and former England International
The 28-year-old was a firm Green and Whites favourite during his first three year spell at the East Midlands club before joining Bristol in 2009.
Nottingham pounced for the services of the versatile athlete after the RFU Championship semi-finalists decided to release Montagu two months after he penned a one-year extension to stay at the Memorial Stadium.
Nottingham Chief Executive and interim Director of Rugby Simon Beatham is thrilled to welcome back the experienced campaigner.
“Monty was a huge part of the team when he was here,” Beatham said.
“He has natural strength, great courage and commitment which is exactly the type of player that we want here at Nottingham. We know what he is about, he has a passion for the club and city and he will fit right in with the team.
“As we are going for a tighter squad, the greatest value of the team is that everyone is totally committed to it. Dan has shown that quality in his years of starring for Nottingham and Bristol.”
While Montagu has made his name as a powerful and skilful No 8, his proven ability to feature in the back and second row makes him a prized signing for the Green and Whites
“In terms of the squad, we need players with versatility and Dan fits that mould perfectly,” Beatham added.
Meanwhile, Nottingham is continuing to negotiate a number of dual registration agreements with Premiership clubs to strengthen the squad even further.
Beatham said: “We are in the final throws of agreeing a few deals that will help provide further strength and depth to our squad. I’m in the process of meeting with clubs to finalise those deals and making sure that we can integrate those players fully into the squad before the season starts.”