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Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Wednesday, December 23rd 2020

Lam expecting tough Boxing Day encounter

Pat Lam is expecting a big reaction from Harlequins when the two sides meet at The Stoop on Boxing Day (2pm KO, live on BT Sport 1 HD).

The Bears were bonus-point winners at Connacht in last weekend’s Heineken Champions Cup clash, while Quins suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of Racing 92 – and Lam is predicting a response from Paul Gustard’s side.

Quins response

“I’m not sure when Bristol have won (at the Stoop) before, but certainly not while I’ve been here, so we understand how tough that’s going to be – and I know last week wasn’t a great day (for Quins), which means we’re expecting a bounce back from them, and also there’s a lot of quality players in that team.

“So, we’ve got back, short turnaround, but we’re looking forward to getting back into the Premiership and there’s points on offer for both sides."

All eyes on Premiership

“It’s a special time and an important time with family, particularly in 2020, but now, it’s about making sure we can switch it on, get all of our detail done early in the week and then when we get together, get down to the game and switch on.”

A resurgent second-half performance in Galway saw the Bears keep their Champions Cup hopes alive last weekend – and Lam has urged his side to build on an impressive European win.

“I’m really pleased we got the five points at a really tricky place to go to. The boys were massive – the effort they put in. It’s kept us alive for round three in January, but we can put that aside and we’re excited to get back into the Premiership.”

Squad management

Lam says he will have to manage his squad accordingly over the next five weeks, with mandatory two-week rest periods for England internationals required, as well as one-week breaks for all players over the same period.

"We've got three Premiership games and two European games, and during that period, we have to find two weeks off for the England boys - and rightly so, the boys went all the way through from last season. So, we've got to find them two weeks before the Six Nations, for Kyle (Sinckler), Ben (Earl) and Max (Malins) - doesn't have to be all at the same time - and then every other non-international, we've got to find them a week off during that five or six games."

“The focus is really about us. Obviously, we have Christmas, so we know this time of the year is a little bit different.


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