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Will Carpenter


Posted Wednesday, November 20th 2019

Press bitesize: Brive (a) - European Challenge Cup

Director of Rugby, Pat Lam and back, Mat Protheroe faced the media ahead of Friday night's European Challenge Cup clash with Brive at Stade Amédée-Domenech.

Changing stations

Pat Lam reflected on this morning's news that Forwards Coach, Jonathan Thomas will leave the club at the end of the season to join Worcester Warriors, with John Muldoon stepping up to take over that role for the 2020/21 campaign.

“JT is an excellent team man and an outstanding young coach. Everybody at Bristol Bears values his effort and contribution to the club over the past four seasons.

“JT’s development has been superb - he’s shown fantastic growth as a coach and as a person. I’m sad to lose him, but pleased he will have more family time and that he’ll be joining my good friend Solly at Worcester who will continue to oversee his development  into a future world class head coach.

“It takes a strong character to make tough decisions, but I’m really pleased that JT has put his wife Laura and children Kobi, Maya and Rudy at the forefront of his decision. We support JT wholeheartedly and completely understand his reasons for doing so.

On Muldoon's forthcoming appointment, Lam added: “Our philosophy at Bristol Bears is to ideally promote from within and develop our staff to become world-class in their fields. That’s the key thing about our vision, when personnel leave, the systems and structures that have been put in place means that the next person steps in to add value to the good work that’s being done.

“Mul has all the ingredients to be an outstanding coach, as he has already shown in his efforts with the team defence. We have worked together for a long time and he’s a natural leader. The boys respect him and he knows our systems in great detail.

“The entire management team are closely aligned in everything we do – we want to be the most dominant pack in the league and Mul can help deliver that ambition.”

Back to back

Mat Protheroe has urged Bristol Bears to 'back up' last weekend's victory over Zebre, when they travel to Brive on Friday night.

"It was a good win on the weekend, good to get the five points and we’re looking to back that up this weekend," he said.

"We know it’s a different challenge presented to us, but as long as we get our preparation right this week, we’ll be good to go.

"Everyone knows going over to France and getting a victory isn’t easy. Brive are coming off a good result against Stade (Francais) last week – going back to a home game now, on a Friday night as well, it will be a big challenge and it will test us. But again, it’s all about that preparation and getting the finer details right for us."

Preparation on point

Pat Lam says training and preparation has stepped up a notch ahead of Friday night’s trip to Stade Amédée-Domenech.

The Director of Rugby was critical of his side’s preparation for the bonus-point victory over Zebre at Ashton Gate last weekend but has praised his side for their attitude and focus as they target a second successive win in Pool Four.  

“It’s a massive game, because with all teams fighting on both sides, I think us getting a win over there would be huge for our ambition, to not only win our group but also all of the other groups, to get a home quarter final and a home semi-final,” he said.

“We understand that, and we understand the goal, and the preparation for it has been a lot better. I made no secret of the fact that I was not happy with last week, but I’ve been so pleased with the training week we’ve had so far.”

“Our preparation been superb, and guys have been on the money as far as attitude goes. More importantly, the coaches have done a lot less in that regards – the senior players have really taken control to make sure there is the right attitude at every session."