Cruse set for 'really exciting challenge' as Saints forward secures coaching role

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Tom Cruse is looking forward to a 'really exciting challenge' after the Saints hooker was handed a coaching role at Bedford Blues.

Cruse, who is hanging up his boots this summer, will join Bedford as forwards coach ahead of the 2024/25 season.

The 35-year-old will take his first steps into full-time coaching at Goldington Road and joins following an illustrious playing career, including a nine-year stint in the Premiership.

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In his time at Saints, Cruse has made 14 appearances, starting last season’s Premiership semi-final and scoring his first try for the club in the 2023/24 season-opener against Ealing Trailfinders.

Tom Cruse (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)Tom Cruse (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Tom Cruse (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

He spent this season both representing Saints and taking his first steps into the coaching career – most notably being part of the Chinnor set-up which secured promotion to the Championship.

And now Cruse is looking forward to helping Bedford in their bid for success next season.

“Bedford are a big, traditional club and I’m very fortunate to have this opportunity," Cruse said.

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“It’s one I feel very privileged about, there’s a few familiar faces at the club – one of those being Michael Le Bourgeois from my time at Wasps.

“It’s a really exciting challenge for me as I begin my coaching career, in a league that’s highly competitive.

“I’m a massive advocate of the Championship, it’s a great place to help talent grow, and I’m eager to put my stamp on things to aid that."

He added: “When I met (Bedford boss) Mike Rayer to talk about coming on board at Bedford, he spoke a lot about development; and that’s not just the players, but the coaches as well.

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“This being my first full-time coaching role, it was important to find the right fit.

"I’ve done a lot of coaching already in my journey, but that was whilst still playing, and it was that chance of development that really stuck out for me.

“Knowing how James Craig and Jake Sharp developed there is a great example and they’ve both been brilliant for advice going through this transition and preparing to join Bedford.

“I’m very relationship based in my coaching. It’s important to be approachable and that the players feel they can come and speak to you if there’s something on their mind.

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“I’ve played under some great coaches and with some great players, so I think I’ve been able to assess what works and what doesn’t.

"I’m excited to put all that learning into practice with Bedford as I try to help the club achieve its ambitions.”

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