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‘We’re itching to return to league action’ - Lam

  • 'We've made a lot of progress since September's trip to the Mennaye'
  • 'There’s a lot of guys itching to get going again'
  • 'We have learnt a lot of British and Irish Cup defeats'
  • 'The lads need to bring enthusiasm and excitement on Friday night'

Pat Lam says his players are ‘itching’ to return to league action as they prepare to take on Cornish Pirates in Friday night’s televised GKIPA Championship clash at Ashton Gate (7:45pm KO).

September’s game at the Mennaye saw Bristol survive a late Pirates onslaught to secure a 31-29 victory, but the head coach insists his side have made great strides since round two and has backed them to deliver in front of a bumper crowd this weekend.

“Earlier in the season, we were quite comfortable at one stage and then we conceded three tries in fifteen minutes,” said Lam.

“We’ve gone back and looked at the games in round one to round four or five, and certainly you can see some of things we did back then were horrific, but that was all part of the learning and part of the developing as a team.

“We understand that they will be stronger as well, but we’re certainly in a better space than we were in round two."

David Lemi scores the second of his three tries against Cornish Pirates at the Mennaye Field in September (JMP UK).

“We’ve made a lot of progress and we’re getting better every day. A lot of teams were keen to play us in those early rounds because they knew we would get stronger and we are certainly doing that.

“But, again, this competition is such that if we’re not on the job - which we’re confident we will be, the guys are hungry – then you can come unstuck.”

Lam’s side head into the festive fixture off the back of successive defeats in the British and Irish Cup, with the head coach insisting a lot had been learnt from back-to-back games against Leinster ‘A’.

“There’s some big learnings we can take from the games against Leinster,” he said.

“Obviously, the outcome is not what we wanted, but as we work towards September next year, a lot of the team that we are going to be, will come on the back of those games.”

“There’s a lot of guys itching to get going again and we’re going to need that sort of enthusiasm and excitement on Friday."

Pat Lam, head coach

Friday’s game against Cornish Pirates is followed by a trip to London to take on Richmond on December 30th, as Bristol look to enter 2018 with their unbeaten league record intact – and Lam has called on his players to bring ‘enthusiasm and excitement’ into the festive period.

“We’ve got two games left this calendar year and then if we’re successful, there’s a break after that,” he said.

“There’s a lot of guys itching to get going again and we’re going to need that sort of enthusiasm and excitement on Friday. 

“All of our planning has been around making sure we’re ready to go this weekend and then in London when we play Richmond, so we’re excited and ready for two big games.”

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