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Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Wednesday, May 26th 2021

‘A physical battle awaits’ - Hughes

Nathan Hughes believes the Bears will have raise their game against an ‘outstanding’ Sale Sharks side, when first in the Gallagher Premiership meets third at the AJ Bell Stadium on Friday night (7.45pm KO, live on BT Sport 1 HD).

The Bears can secure a home play-off semi-final with a win in Manchester, but number eight Hughes knows the physical battle will be key against Alex Sanderson’s men.

“It’s going to be a physical game up front – they have some big South African boys in the pack. We’ll identify areas that we need to take to them, and we’ll go there and try and take the physicality to them.

“They’ve been outstanding all season and even when they’ve gone down to 13 men, they’ve been grinding results out. We’re going to go there; we’ve got our systems and we’re going to go out there and try and get the win.”

Hughes also reflected on the round 19 victory over Gloucester, as Ashton Gate welcomed back supporters for the first time in nearly 15 months.

'Incredible to have fans back'

“It was a good physical game (against Gloucester), but I think the most exciting thing was having fans back in the stadium. When the boys ran out on to the field, as (Callum) Sheedy said after the game, it felt like 30,000, like a full Ashton Gate even though there was only 3,000. It was just nice to run out in front of the fans – I think the fans have missed being at the games, but it was a good game, a lot of learnings we took from it leading into the next one.

“I think across the whole country, in all sports, the fans came back in, and everyone has talked about what they brought to the table – the atmosphere.

“But at the same time, for us, we just focus on our job and go out there and perform, and hopefully we can give that excitement to the fans.”


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