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Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Tuesday, December 17th 2019

Press bitesize: Saracens (a) - Gallagher Premiership

Director of Rugby, Pat Lam and number eight, Nathan Hughes faced the media ahead of Saturday's Gallagher Premiership clash with Saracens.


Rising to the challenge

Nathan Hughes has urged Bristol Bears to rise the challenge when they travel to face reigning Gallagher Premiership champions, Saracens on Saturday (3pm KO).

“It’s a Test Match against a lot of internationals. Saracens, they’re back to back European champions, Premiership finalists year on year, it’s going to be a big encounter, a physical one and a quick-paced one.

“We’ve had a good start to the season, but we’re still building as a team and we’re not the finished product yet by any means.

“We’ve trained well today and yesterday, and it’s going to be a good one. The exciting thing is that we couldn’t ask for a better challenge than Saracens – they haven’t had the best start to the season so far, but I’m pretty sure that, back at home, they will want to put a marker down. If you’re going to get anything at Allianz Park, you’ve got to earn it.”


Problem solving

Pat Lam says Bristol Bears will need to 'problem solve under pressure' against Saracens this weekend.

"Ultimately, it’s about building our ability as a group on the field, building the skillsets, the team systems, so that the boys are able to problem solve – and when you add in the culture and the leadership, and watching these guys work their way through difficult situations, problem solve on the field, that’s exciting and that’s what we’re going to need this weekend in a massive challenge against Saracens.

"They (Saracens) will be fully loaded because of the situation they are in. There’s no reason for them to be complacent at all, so if we manage to pull off the victory, it’s going to be a huge achievement, and it’s a great test for where we are. So, this is another good barometer that we look for to see how we’re going and how we’re going to deal with this challenge, and that’s what I’m excited by."


Fitness first

Not for the first time this season, Bristol rallied late on to seal victory over Stade Francais, and Hughes says the combination of belief and conditioning has contributed to some important results.

“There is belief in this team, and we talk about it all the time – 23 playing as one Bristol Bears team.

“We’ve got everyone’s back, and that’s shown in the games that we’ve come back in and won in the final 10 minutes.

“Rugby is an 80-minute game and it’s not won in the first 20 minutes, it’s right down to the end. It’s all down to the coaches and the S&C staff – how they structured pre-season and conditioned us to perform. It was a long pre-season and it’s a longer season, so I think the way we’ve been conditioned is transferring on to the field.”


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