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Will Carpenter


Posted Wednesday, October 16th 2019

Press bitesize: Bath (h) - Gallagher Premiership

Director of Rugby, Pat Lam and number eight, Nathan Hughes faced the media ahead of Friday's Gallagher Premiership opener against Bath at Ashton Gate - here's the key points from the press session.

Back with a bang

Nathan Hughes has urged Bristol Bears to kick off the season with a bang in front of a sell-out crowd on Friday night.

“It’s exciting - it’s been a long pre-season, and everyone has worked really hard for the start of a new campaign,” he said.

“It’s another game to go and showcase what we’ve done throughout pre-season. Individually, it’s about how you prepare yourself, right from today until the game.

“We can’t let the occasion take over yourself. You’ve got to prepare yourself mentally – it’s going to be a very big occasion for the club itself, in front of a big crowd.

“Personally, I’m looking forward to it, to go out there and start the season with a bang. We’ve worked really hard in the lead up to this, so let’s get the ball rolling.”

Rising to the occasion

Pat Lam has called on his side to rise to the occasion at Ashton Gate on Friday night, urging hisn players to channel their excitement and energy into a winning performance in front of more than 26,000 supporters.

"Playing Bath, in itself, is fantastic, but to play in front of a stadium record attendance for a sporting event is huge. It is much appreciated that so many supporters want to get to this game, and we have the privilege and honour of kicking off the Premiership again, which is looking to be a great match.

“There’s no doubt, everyone is excited and really wants to play in the game. There’s been a lot of preparation for the last few years, and as we always say, we need to channel all of that enthusiasm, the energy, the excitement, and playing in front of such a massive crowd into our game – into the work rate, the way we tackle, the way we carry the ball, all of our fundamental skills and it’s all about cohesion as a team."

Fortress Ashton Gate

Hughes also urged Bristol to make Ashton Gate a fortress this season, starting with Friday's West Country derby.

“For us, we’ve got big games, but I think if we can have a good start in this first block, we’ll put ourselves in a good position for the whole season.

“In the Premiership Cup, we used it to prepare for this big one against Bath. The boys put their hands up to challenge for the jerseys, and we two good wins in the cup as well. I think this Friday, it’s about putting that puzzle together and completing it.

“When I take to the field, I’ll always give 100% to achieve that team goal, which is that we want to be in the Champions Cup next season.

"We want to be pushing those big teams and we want to make Ashton Gate a fortress. When teams come to Ashton Gate, we want to be fearful of us.”