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Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Tuesday, September 4th 2018

Saracens press in brief: five things we learned

Head coach Pat Lam and wing Luke Morahan faced the media ahead of Saturday's trip to Allianz Park to play reigning champions, Saracens - here's what we learned from this week's press session. 

Challenge

Pat Lam has spoken numerous times about the relentless nature of the Gallagher Premiership, and this week's clash with Saracens is a prime example of the challenges Bristol Bears will face this season.

“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," said Lam.

“Saracens have been the benchmark in the competition for the last few years. Both as a team and personally, you try and beat the best and that’s what we’ve got this week, the opportunity to do that," added Morahan.


Intensity

After the elation of Friday night, attention has quickly turned to Saracens, with Pat Lam hailing the intensity of this week's preparations.

“Friday was a great night for our supporters and we got the four points. 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’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.


Work rate

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.

“I saw many examples (of good work-rate) 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.

"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."


Defensive duties

Bristol Bears' defensive resilience was a highlight of Friday night, and Luke Morahan says they'll need to be at their best again on Saturday.

"As a group, we define our culture by how we defend, and it was a good start on the weekend, but it will be another step up this week against Saracens," said Morahan.

"So, for us, the mantra that ‘defence wins championships’ is very important to us, and that’s what we aim to do, have a defence that can try and win a championship.

"It’s going to be another big effort for us, and to back up a good win would be a major turning point for us this season."


Improvement

The head coach said the potential of his playing squad excites him and has challenged his players to continue to improve every day. 

“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,” said Lam.


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