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Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Tuesday, October 9th 2018

Zebre press in brief: five things we learned

Head coach, Pat Lam and flanker, Dan Thomas faced the media ahead of Saturday's European Challenge Cup game against Zebre at Ashton Gate - here's what we learned from this week's press session. 


Response

"There’s always two ways you go from these things and if anything, it’s probably been a blessing in disguise for us, because it makes you reflect and look at everything," said head coach, Pat Lam.

"And everything is okay, everything has been okay – but okay isn’t good enough.

"Sometimes, you need those games to make it very clear to the whole squad that we can’t survive on okay. That’s not the sort of team we want to be," he added.



Rotation

Lam also said the upcoming European Challenge Cup and Premiership Cup fixtures will give opportunities to other players in the squad, with rotation expected. 

"There’re five games now before we get back to the Premiership, which is our bread and butter.

"It’s an opportunity for other guys to play, use the squad over the next five weeks to prepare as we get back to the Premiership.

"There will be a few changes – a good rotation over these next five weeks, but that doesn’t mean we don’t expect to win games."


Home comforts

Dan Thomas said Bristol Bears owe the Ashton Gate faithful a big performance - and after making his return from injury last weekend, the back-row aims to play his part on Saturday.

“People pay good money to watch us play at home, so we owe them a performance and we’ll give them one on the weekend.

“I’m here to do a job now. I spoke to Pat a couple of weeks ago and I’m not expecting to have a couple of games to ease back into it, I’m returning to perform, not just play and ease myself into it."


The Italian Job

Pat Lam highlighted the threat of an ever-improving Zebre side, who currently sit in sixth place in their Pro14 pool. 

"I know Zebre from my time in the Pro12, and John Muldoon has spoken about their threat too.

Wayne Smith is involved there, Conor O’Shea, there’s a lot of Italian internationals in there and again, if you don’t prepare and don’t play as a team, the same thing will happen, and you’ll come unstuck."


Competition for places

With Pat Lam hinting at squad rotation over the next five weeks, Dan Thomas says competition for places is hotting up in the Bristol Bears squad - none more so than in the back row.

“George (Smith), Jake (Heenan), Lammy (Jack Lam) and Sammy Graham are all fighting for the same position and we all have different strengths in our game.

"We work well together, and the competition is really healthy.”