December 6 2013 Latest news:
By James Cunliffe
Friday, August 30, 2013
Jackson Wray is relishing the chance to front-up against Bedford Blues tomorrow – a club he credits for giving a boost to his Saracens career.
The back row made 11 appearances for the Championship side in the 2010/11 season as part of the dual registration relationship between the two outfits.
From there he went on to make his Premiership debut later the same season so his spell at the Blues, who consistently battle at the top end of English rugby union’s second tier, is one he remembers fondly.
He said: “I played the first 11 games at Bedford a few years ago and went on to play a fair few games for Saracens that year so it teed up nicely for that and put my in good stead for the last couple of years especially, where I’ve played more.
“It’s definitely a great stepping stone for the guys and works really well.”
Last year’s Championship runners-up Bedford are the visitors to Allianz Park tomorrow (3pm) and will provide Sarries’ final pre-season test before the opening day of the season London double-header clash against London Irish at Twickenham on September 7.
Wray said: “We play them every year in summer but I enjoyed my time up there, having played at Bedford a few years ago.
“They always love to play and they always give us a good game.
“It will be a really big test for us before the season.”
He could come up against fellow back row Tom Jubb, who is one of the dual registration players that will hope to earn his stripes at Blues this term, along with Nick Auterac, while Saracens Academy boss Don Barrell plays at No.8 for the Goldington Road side and centre Sam Stanley has just joined them.
“He’s just got to go up there and enjoy it, put the work in and hopefully it will go really well,” Wray said of Jubb’s opportunity.
“I was quite young when I went up there; I was a first year academy player, so around 17 or 18 [years old].
“You’ve just got to get really involved and work really hard, gain the respect of the players there and once you have that it makes it a bit easier.”
He added: “Dual registration works really well. It worked well for me and has done for a few other players over the last few years.
“The relationship is very good. They [Bedford] are really understanding of the pressures that the guys have here, so when they go up there they are well looked after and that’s important because you don’t want to get burnt out.
“I think it works really well for both clubs.”