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Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Wednesday, March 4th 2020

Press bitesize: Harlequins (h) - Gallagher Premiership

Director of Rugby, Pat Lam and prop, John Afoa faced the media ahead of Sunday's Gallagher Premiership clash with Harlequins at Ashton Gate (1pm KO).


Strong end to the block

At the end of a five-game block, John Afoa wants Bristol to sign off in style ahead of a short break in the fixture list.

"It’s important to finish this block off well – one game left before a break. I think it’s important that we seal our place at the top of the table, in that top half, so we can come back in two weeks’ time and just finish the season.

"I don’t think there are any more breaks after that, it’s just a run of games and they will go really fast. So, it’s important that we stay nice and high, put the pressure on and points on the table, but it comes down to performance and we’ve got to make sure we do that on Sunday."


Raising the bar

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.”


Heenan extends stay

Pat Lam praised Jake Heenan's consistency and leadership after the back row signed a two-year extension to his Bristol Bears contract.

“Jake is a versatile player and has made some important contributions in the past two seasons.

“His value to the team is second to none – Jake is consistent, a leader, and has huge respect from the players and staff.

“After recovering from injury at the beginning of his time here, Jake has gone from strength to strength and established himself as a key operator within the group.

“The more he has played, the better he has got, so we’re excited to see how he continues to develop and add more value over the next two years.”


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