Despite a heavy defeat to Sale Sharks earlier in the week, Pat Lam does not see it is a setback and has already turned his attention to the game against Worcester. David Challis has spoken to the man at the helm at Bristol to provide all the insight before this weekend’s match.
The excitement is clearly still brewing within Lam as his side head towards an historic top-four finish. He spoke about the state of his squad, growth since their last game against Worcester and squad rotation ahead of this important clash.
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Despite the heavy fixture list Bristol appears to be in good shape ahead of their trip to Sixways on Friday. Pat Lam reported “no major injuries” in the squad meaning they are all close to full fitness.
He did concede that the congested fixture list had taken a toll on his side with “lots of bumps and bruises” felt around the squad.
That meant he does not have a full list of players to pick from and rotation will be required. However, no one has picked up anything serious which will come as a relief.
Squad rotation and tight turnarounds
One of the main talking points this week has been the subject of midweek fixtures. This is the first time sides have played in the week for years now and for most, it seems to have been a success.
Lam did note some potential challenges with home and away scheduling games. He pointed out the difficulties of playing away then home then away again, owing to the travel involved at either end.
However, he welcomed the opportunity to use the extremities of his squad. Despite the heavy defeat to Sale, he described it as “a really big performance as far as growth goes”.
“I don’t see it as a setback at all”
Lam continued to look forward and noted that despite some disappointment in the defeat, the game itself was not a big set back for his side.
He also seemed to be relishing the challenge of regular games. He noted, “it’s a great challenge, some of those so-called second teams have won” in response to a query raising the fact that some of the games have been uncompetitive.
Returning to Sixways
Bristol fans will not remember the trip away to Worcester fondly but Pat Lam looks back on it with somewhat of a rose-tinted viewpoint. For those that do not remember Bristol shipped 50+ points last time they travelled to Sixways upon their return to the Premiership last season.
Lam reflected on the game as a seminal turning point for his side. He said, “if you look at that game and where we’ve come two years later, that’s where a lot of the growth has come”.
— Bristol Bears (@BristolBears) September 2, 2020
New signings fully engrained
Bristol managed to strengthen greatly during the lockdown period. The likes of Radradra, Earl, Malins and Sinckler all came in which has been a great boost. However, there was always the potential that this could have a destabilising effect.
Lam thinks the period of bedding in over and said, “they are well and truly ingrained into the squad”. The new faces are fully-fledged Bristol Bears as far as he is concerned at this stage.
” don’t see them as new anymore”
It is a great testament to Lam how well and quickly these new faces have bedded in. It could have been a problem for Bristol but it has definitely made them stronger.
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