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Will Carpenter


Posted Monday, December 10th 2018

La Rochelle press in brief: five things we learned

Skills coach, Bruce Reihana and prop, Jake Woolmore faced the media ahead of Saturday's European Challenge Cup clash with La Rochelle - here's what we learned from this week's press session.

Sharpening up

Bruce Reihana called on Bristol Bears to be more clinical when they take on La Rochelle in Saturday's return fixture, after a number of chances went begging against the Top 14 high-flyers last weekend.

"We created opportunities but just didn’t quite take them at certain times, and at certain moments in the game, we just lost our flow and we managed to turn the ball over and they capitalised on it," he said.


And Reihana also warned his side to expect a 'vibrant atmosphere' at Stade Marcel-Deflandre. 

"The atmosphere will be very vibrant. We heard the La Rochelle supporters on the weekend and there might have only been a few of them in the stadium, but you still heard them loud and clear.

"That was a couple of hundred – there will be 16,000 of them on Saturday doing exactly the same thing.

"It can be a little bit daunting, but I think it’s more exciting because it lifts the energy levels straight away."

Relishing the challenge

Jake Woolmore says Bristol Bears are relishing the opportunity to take on La Rochelle on French soil ahead of Saturday’s European Challenge Cup clash at Stade Marcel-Deflandre.

“There’s a good buzz around the club,” he said.

“We’re all very excited to be taking on the challenge to go to France.

“It’s one of the places you want to test yourself. They’ve got big crowds that can be semi-hostile at times and I think we’re all excited for the challenge.

“We want to be a team that can go anywhere, put our hands up and say we belong here, and I think the boys are eager to go and do that this weekend."

Competition for places

Reihana insists competition for places has been ramped up by players returning from injury - and that can only be a good thing. 

Mat Protheroe made a long-awaited comeback last weekend, with Luke Daniels also back in training.

"We’ve got a lot of guys coming back from injury also, and now it’s at a great time where they can show what they are made of.

"But also, it creates a good environment to be around and it builds a lot of pressure within the squad with positions and keeps everyone honest, which is great to have."

Pressure cooker

Woolmore insists Bristol Bears are 'excited' by the pressure of this weekend's European clash.

“We don’t fear the pressure, we get excited by it and want to throw ourselves in the deep end, give it all we’ve got and show what we’re capable of.

“It’s the mentality we have in any competition and any game we have. We take each week as it comes, look at the opposition we have in front of us, and that’s the best way to go about, week by week."

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