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Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Tuesday, January 22nd 2019

‘We need to be at our best’ – Muldowney

Aly Muldowney says Bristol Bears will need to be at the top of their game when they take on Exeter Chiefs at Ashton Gate on Saturday, with qualification for the Premiership Rugby Cup semi-finals up for grabs.

Pat Lam’s side take on the Chiefs for the third time this season knowing that a bonus-point win is required to give Bristol hope of reaching the last four – with other results still set to dictate the final outcome.

But Muldowney says Bristol are focused on the job in hand and expecting a typically tough test against Rob Baxter’s high-flyers.

“We’re treating this like a Premiership game, and we also know that it’s a bit of a winner takes all game,” he said.

“We know it’s Exeter, we know what they do - we’ve obviously already played them twice – we’re at home again in front of our crowd, so we want to put in a big performance.

“I expect exactly the same sort of thing from Exeter. They’ve got really good squad depth and some very good players – missing maybe a few to the Six Nations squads – but their depth is so good anyway, so it will still be a ‘who’s who’ and we know what we’re up against. We know we need to be at our best.”

“We know it’s Exeter, we know what they do - we’ve obviously already played them twice – we’re at home again in front of our crowd, so we want to put in a big performance."

Aly Muldowney

The three pool winners and the best runner-up will qualify for the Premiership Rugby Cup semi-finals, with Bristol requiring a bonus-point win and other results to go their way to reach the knockout stages.

And although there are many permutations, Muldowney knows the minimum requirement is a home win from Saturday’s West Country derby.

“Qualification is a bit of a difficult one for us to get our heads around, but as far as we’re concerned, we’re at home, so we need to win,” he said.

“We need to try and get that try bonus-point and we want knockout rugby – we’ve got it in Europe and we want to get it in the Premiership Cup. We’re targeting qualification for Champions Cup rugby for next season, so we’ve got all of these things that we want to achieve.

“We want to make Ashton Gate a fortress – we need it to be a hard ground to win at, we need to make fans want to come back and new people want to come along and watch.

“We want to sell the stadium out as much as possible and we want people to come and watch exciting rugby. But most importantly, we want to win, and win well.”

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