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Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Wednesday, March 4th 2020

Lam urges Bristol to raise the bar again

Pat Lam says Bristol Bears are focused on improvement as they prepare to welcome an in-form Harlequins side to Ashton Gate on Sunday (1pm KO) in round 13 of the Gallagher Premiership.

Bristol are on a run of four successive league wins following last weekend’s hard-fought derby victory over Bath at The Recreation Ground – and although acknowledging his side’s progress, Lam has called on his side to raise the bar once again.

“We’ve now had four wins in a row, but we’ve learned our lesson a few times already since I’ve been here: if you get carried away, you come unstuck,” he said.

“We celebrate the win – it’s been 14 years since we won down there and did the double over Bath – it’s a reason to celebrate and acknowledge that and the work that went into it, but we then acknowledge the things that we didn’t do quite as well.

“We were disappointed, after going 19-6 up, to concede straight away and then lose the chance to get a bonus point. That’s probably four games now that we could have got bonus points in if we were more clinical.

“That’s us looking at the things that we can do better, but we have certainly acknowledged all of the good stuff that we did.”

Paul Gustard’s Harlequins arrive in the West Country off the back of a dramatic victory over high-flying Exeter Chiefs at The Stoop last weekend.

And Lam believes his side will face an ‘experienced and exciting’ opposition on Sunday.

“We’re under no illusions now as to the challenge we face. We saw what Harlequins did against Exeter, so we have to have a good week, and so far, so good.

“They’ve got a great coach and great players. I’ve got a lot of time for Paul Gustard and he’s doing something similar in trying to change culture and trying to make big improvements in the group – and he’s bringing along a lot of good, young players as well.

“You’ve only got to look at Marcus Smith, who you’ve got to remember is only 20 years old, and we’ve been doing the same with Callum Sheedy, Harry Randall, Andy Uren. So, it’s a similar philosophy – they like to play, they’re aggressive in their contact work as well.

“They were very good in the set piece last week, so we’ve got to do our work this week, or we’ll come unstuck. We lost to them in round two, so we have a goal to make sure we beat every team this year, and we have that challenge this week.

“They’ve got a settled core there, with Danny Care, Chris Robshaw, Marcus Smith, Alex Dombrandt, Lasike is going well for them and it was good to see my old friend Francis Saili back from injury as well.

“There’s some real experience in that team and some exciting players, so it’s all cranked up nicely for a good game at Ashton Gate.”


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