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Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Tuesday, September 4th 2018

‘Saracens pose a different challenge’ - Lam

Pat Lam says Bristol Bears are preparing for a stern test against 'the number one side in the country' when they travel to Allianz Park on Saturday to take on reigning champions Saracens.

Friday night’s derby victory over Bath at Ashton Gate has contributed to a strong feel-good factor around the club, but the head coach insists attention has quickly turned to the round two fixture this weekend.

“Yes, it was a great night for our supporters and we got the four points, which was the main thing,” said Lam.

“But on Monday morning we were straight back in, fully focused on Saracens – and we have to be, because you just have to look at Saracens and what they’ve achieved.

“They have had pretty much the same core coaching group for many years and have built a lot of success. They’re defending champions and if you think you can just roll into that and things are just going to happen, you’re kidding yourself. So, it’s been pretty intense so far this week.

“Yes, we beat Bath in the first game, but now we go away from home and it’s a completely different challenge and a tougher challenge. We’re away from home and we’re playing the number one team in the country.

“Yes, we beat Bath in the first game, but now we go away from home and it’s a completely different challenge and a tougher challenge. We’re away from home and we’re playing the number one team in the country."

Pat Lam, head coach

“There’s five points on offer – there was five on offer last week - so that’s the target, but we’re also realistic in knowing you can’t go to Saracens and think you’re just going to rock up and win the game.”

Lam highlighted the off-the-ball work-rate of try-scoring hero, Alapati Leiua in the build-up to his 73rd-minute try during the victory over Bath and says the rate of improvement amongst his squad is an exciting prospect.

“The team at the moment are far better than when I first arrived here last year and what excites me is that this time next year, we’ll be a different team as well, as we continue to grow each day,” added Lam.

“(What pleased me against Bath) was the work off the ball. Everyone wants the ball because you score with it, but what defines your work is what you do when you don’t have it.

“We were under a lot of pressure and the boys dug in deep. I saw many examples and a quality example is Alapati Leiua scoring his try.

“I highlighted this week that it wasn’t the fact that he scored it, Luke (Morahan) did a lot of work, but if you go back and look, he started out on the left wing, but he worked really hard to get in position right around the outside.

“The work-rate of the wingers is key, and he came right across. If Luke had broken and Alapati had stayed on his left wing, we wouldn’t have that try and probably wouldn’t have the victory.

“That was one of many examples right through the team of the boys working hard. They’ll need to do the same again this week.”


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