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Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Tuesday, August 4th 2020

McPhillips says Bears primed for Premiership return

Assistant Coach, Conor McPhillips says the Bears are primed and ready for the resumption of the Gallagher Premiership next weekend, with all eyes on Ashton Gate for the clash with Saracens on Saturday, August 15th.

Assistant Coach, Conor McPhillips says the Bears are primed and ready for the resumption of the Gallagher Premiership next weekend, with all eyes on Ashton Gate for the clash with Saracens on Saturday, August 15th.

Sitting third in the table with nine rounds left to play, McPhillips says stages one and two of rugby’s return to play protocols have allowed the club’s new recruits time to settle into their new surroundings.

Good players into Bears players

“It’s been very different because stage one was small groups, but it also helped the new guys embed themselves in small groups early, and it allowed the coaches to have good access to them, almost on a one-to-one basis and then they were drip-fed into the team stuff in stage two,” he said.

“So, it’s been like a pre-season – different, but it’s been quite smooth. Easy for the new guys, a lot of hands on, and they’ve been able to learn the game plan and now really do it at pace.

“We know (the new guys) are really good players, but we’ve got to make them really good Bears players, so we’ve got to them up to speed with game plan, they’ve got to build their connections and relationships, which they’ve been doing really well.

“But they’ve all bedded in well, all learning the system and showing that they are quality players.”

Back to the grind

Now into week three at the club’s new training facility, McPhillips says excitement has now turned to hard work and expectation, with a huge test against Saracens in little under two weeks’ time kickstarting a jam-packed schedule.

“We’ve worked through our stage one and stage two, we know the run of the new facility now,” he said. “There was excitement, but now it’s just a lot of hard work being done.

“There’s a lot of expectation for the restart of the league and there’s obviously a lot of expectation that we put on ourselves.

The true Bears

“So, we’ve been knuckling down to some hard work, really looking at specifics in our game plan and getting ready for that first block of games, which are going to come thick and fast.

“You can always make tweaks to your game, but we’re not going to throw the baby out with the bathwater by any means – we were in a good place before lockdown came on.

“We’ve had loads of time to reflect on things we can do slightly better, but I think you’ll see the true Bears, like we saw before lockdown.”


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