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Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Tuesday, January 22nd 2019

Exeter Chiefs press in brief: five things we learned

Head coach, Pat Lam and second row, Aly Muldowney faced the media ahead of Saturday's Gallagher Premiership Rugby Cup clash with Exeter Chiefs at Ashton Gate - here's what we learned from this week's press session.


It's a knockout

Pat Lam expressed his satisfaction at reaching the knockout stages of the European Challenge Cup, where they will take on La Rochelle at Stade Marcel-Deflandre.

"I’m excited for Bristol Bears rugby," he said.

"As you grow as a team, there’s nothing as exciting or challenging as knockout rugby, where your preparation has to be right on the money.

"To get into the quarter-finals, we’re excited by it."



'Bring our A-game'

Aly Muldowney insists Bristol will need to be at their best to beat an Exeter Chiefs side with an impressive record in the domestic cup competition. 

“We know it’s Exeter, we know what they do - we’ve obviously already played them twice – we’re at home again in front of our crowd, so we want to put in a big performance.

“They’ve got really good squad depth and some very good players, so it will still be a ‘who’s who’ and we know what we’re up against.

"We know we need to be at our best.”


Fortress Ashton Gate

Muldowney insists Bristol must take advantage of home comforts in all competitions.

“We want to make Ashton Gate a fortress – we need it to be a hard ground to win at, we need to make fans want to come back and new people want to come along and watch.

“We want to sell the stadium out as much as possible and we want people to come and watch exciting rugby.

"But most importantly, we want to win, and win well.”


The qualification conundrum

Both Lam and Muldowney admitted the permutations of semi-final qualification were tough to digest, but with the minimum requirement of a home win, Bristol are focused on the job in hand.

“Qualification is a bit of a difficult one for us to get our heads around, but as far as we’re concerned, we’re at home, so we need to win,” said Muldowney.

Lam added: "Our main thing is to perform well as a group against tough opposition and try and get the victory on the back of that.

"Whatever happens, will happen." 


Chiefs benchmark

Lam said Exeter Chiefs are the benchmark for other Gallagher Premiership teams, and believes Bristol face a 'tough test' this weekend.

"We’re really looking forward to welcoming Exeter to Ashton Gate," he said.

"They are the benchmark – themselves and Saracens – they’ve got good clarity in their team and good squad depth. So, whoever plays, it’s always tough, as we’ve found out already.

"We’ve had two good games so far this season where we’ve had narrow losses, but I think at this stage of the season, to be play a team like that is perfect for us."


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