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Will Carpenter


Posted Wednesday, February 26th 2020

Piutau predicts ding-dong derby at The Rec

Charles Piutau says Bristol Bears are expecting a full throttle derby encounter when they visit the Recreation Ground to take on Bath on Sunday (3pm KO).

Both sides head into the mouth-watering Gallagher Premiership clash off the back of three successive wins in the competition, and Piutau says Stuart Hooper’s side will be ‘a different beast’ from the one they beat on the opening day of the season.

“Playing local derby matches is obviously big for us as a club,” he said. “I think, as a team, it’s about nailing our jobs day to day and getting our preparation right. The coaches come with a plan, and as players we’re trying to build on that plan during the week and then execute it and have fun on gameday. Hopefully the result goes our way and fans enjoy their day too.

“Our mindset is that we know they are a different team from the start of the season. They’ve grown and improved and shown that, especially at The Rec with only one team winning there in the league this season, so we definitely understand the challenge that is ahead of us and the level we needed to come away with a result.

“Personally, for myself, playing the game, no matter who the opposition is, there’s always an aspect of fun. When I’m enjoying the game and having fun, that’s when I’m at my best. There are always different types of pressures and this week, we’ve spoken about the history between the two sides and the two cities, so it’s going to be a tough challenge going to The Rec.”

Despite recording three successive Gallagher Premiership wins for the first time since April 2007, Piutau, who starred with another man of the match display in last weekend’s victory over Worcester Warriors, believes there is more to come from Bristol as they enter the business end of the season.

“For us, even though we’ve won the last three, we feel like it hasn’t quite clicked yet and we’re still looking for that 80-minute performance.

“For sure (there’s more to come). If you watch our games, there are a lot of individual errors, a lot of line breaks that we didn’t convert into points. So, there are still areas we want to improve as a side. But at the same time, we are happy with certain areas of our game that have helped us build momentum.

“We’re in a good position at the moment, but as you can see in the table, it’s still so close, so a few games can change the table quite drastically. We’ll need to be at our best to continue our current run.”