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Will Carpenter


Posted Wednesday, November 6th 2019

Lam issues challenge ahead of Chiefs clash

Pat Lam says Bristol Bears must be ‘emotionally and physically invested’ in Sunday’s clash with Exeter Chiefs, as they go in search of a first away win of the Gallagher Premiership season.

The Director of Rugby, who praised his side for grinding out a victory over Sale at a rain-soaked Ashton Gate last Friday, says they are relishing a physical encounter at Sandy Park.

“There’s no doubt they are very power reliant in their game - go forward, gain line – and you have to be physically and emotionally invested in the game, and you have to work as a team,” said Lam.

“It’s about structure, it’s about contact, but working as a team. If you go as individuals, they’ll eat you up, as they do with most teams.

“So, that’s the mental part of this game, but to be right physically is huge. Last year, we played them three times and we were all within one score – and it’s the little things.

“You can do things perfectly nine times out of ten, but it’s that one time, and that’s why I like these sorts of games.

“This is close to an international, they’re real big games, one mistake either way can cost you, and that’s a good challenge for the growth of this team.”

Ioan Lloyd’s late try and 11 points from the boot of Callum Sheedy steered Bristol to a fourth successive home win in all competitions last weekend – and Lam praised his side’s pragmatism against Sale.

“One of our big learnings in the Premiership from last year is the different ways that teams play.

“Our whole focus was about us and what we wanted to do and how we wanted to play, but the reality is, we played a lot of really good rugby, but we ended up in ninth.

“Yes, it was good rugby, but when you look back and you’re four or five points off the top four, you look back at all of the little games we lost, and Sale in particular was one of those games where we tried to play all of the rugby, and we got turned over.

“When you play certain teams, you have to be pragmatic, you have to be very disciplined to play the conditions, and you need to be ahead – that was our goal.

“The 20-minute passage of play where we went 3-0, 6-0, 9-0, was some really good team rugby – not the type of rugby that we want to play, but the type of rugby we had to play, and that is what pleased me the most.

“If you go back and listen to what I said when I first arrived here, the team that we want to be has to be able to play any way it takes to win rugby matches.”