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Lam relishing ‘exciting’ Challenge Cup draw

Pat Lam says Bristol Bears are relishing their return to European rugby after being drawn alongside La Rochelle, Zebre and Enisei-STM in the Challenge Cup.

Lam’s side can look forward to trips to France, Italy and Russia in Pool Four of the competition – and the head coach insists the draw is an exciting one.

“La Rochelle were flying in Europe and the Top 14 last season, playing some great rugby. There are some quality players there, so it will be good to see them at Ashton Gate.

“Zebre have seen a big resurgence over there. Parma is a great place for our supporters to visit, they’ll enjoy that trip.

“And then the Russians – myself, Conor McPhillips, Aly Muldowney, Jake Heenan, we’ve all been to Krasnoyarsk, right out in Siberia, and that was a big challenge, but that was the making of the team.

“You’re going up against teams from different competitions, different players, different circumstances, and there’s a different style, which is exciting for us as coaches and as a team.

“All in all, it’s a good draw, it’s a winnable draw and something we’re looking forward to.

“Nothing would give me greater pride than to see Bristol Bears playing in the final at St James’ Park in Newcastle, that’s an incentive in itself. But that’s the outcome, we want to get to the final and have the chance to win a trophy, but we’ve got to get back, work hard and take it one game at a time, that’s the old cliché in Europe.”


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