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Bristol bring in 3 players on short-term deals, including ex-Ireland international Adeolokun

(Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

Second place Bristol have reacted to their Gallagher Premiership defeat on Tuesday night by a ‘second-string’ Exeter team by bringing into a trio of players – including one-time Ireland international Niyi Adeolokun – as injury cover to bolster their chances of somehow reeling the Chiefs back in at the top of the table. 

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Exeter, who fielded a team showing 14 changes at Ashton Gate following their win at Sale, are now eleven points clear with six rounds of regular season fixtures remaining in the restarted 2019/20 campaign.

But the Bears will hope their latest reinforcements will help them get through the upcoming weeks without being left short in any position. Injuries to Jake Armstrong (ankle), Max Lahiff (head) and John Afoa (calf) had lightened their front row resources while wing Toby Fricker (groin) is also unavailable. 

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RugbyPass brings you The Bear Pit, the behind the scenes documentary on Pat Lam’s Bristol Bears

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RugbyPass brings you The Bear Pit, the behind the scenes documentary on Pat Lam’s Bristol Bears

That casualty list left Pat Lam on the lookout for short-term cover and of the three players brought in, one is already very familiar to the coach as Adeolokun was part of the Connacht team that won the Guinness PRO12 with Lam at the helm prior to his 2017 move to England.  

Adeolokun, who went on to be capped by Ireland on Lam’s watch and also play for the Barbarians when the Samoan was in charge, was released by Connacht during the recent lockdown but he now has an opportunity to put himself in the Premiership show window with his short-term deal as Fricker’s cover until the end of the 2019/20 season. 

In the pack, Lam has recruited Peter McCabe, the former Connacht prop who joined the Irish province from Munster after the coach had left for Bristol, while Cardiff Blues prop Keiron Assiratti has signed on loan with immediate effect.

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Bristol have little time to reflect on their late loss to Exeter as they are due to Sale this Saturday before visiting Worcester on September 4.  

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Nickers 2 hours ago
'One of the poorest All Blacks performances I've seen in a long time'

Extreme hyperbole from Biggar. NZ have played far, far worse than that. The 20/21 team was by far the worst of the professional era. Losses to Argentina, shambolic game against Japan and hapless NH tour of 2021. But even that dreadful team were able to put 50 points on Wales and beat them by 38. Much easier to “tear them to pieces” from the commentary box apparently. Ignored by virtually everyone is how good the ABs defence was. That is why England didn’t win, they simply could not score enough points against that defence. The ABs attack was very average, but their defence was world class and that’s what won them the game. Any Wales team that Biggar has ever played for would have found themselves in the same situation and would definitely not have scored tries from those cross kicks. That ABs team beats Biggar’s best Wales team 31 - 13. England’s attack was as good as it was allowed to be by a superior defence. Hats off to Hansen, he has picked up where MacLeod finally got the ABs to last year and not missed a step. England’s attack will be a big worry for Borthwick. They have not established a reliable, repeatable way to break teams down and score points. They were held to some very low scores by average teams in the 6N, and again here didn’t cross 20 points on either occasion. If I was an England fan I would be crying out for a new attack coach. Borthwick would do well to cast his net now, a poor home winter with a faltering attack will start the calls for his job.

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T
Thomas 2 hours ago
'Champions get up when they can't': Matt Williams weighs in on Ireland's win over Boks

While both teams have their particular positives, I think neither team should rest on their laurels. South Africa managed to tie a series against an uncomfortable opponent, that has had their numbers for a couple of years, while trial-running a completely new attack system, that still doesn’t work properly. But one aspect of “it doesn’t work yet” is a transition from attack to defense in broken play, as the Boks leaked three tries in two matches this way, and lost the second match as a result. Ireland avoided a series loss in a hostile environment, and in spite of many key player injuries, while managing to significantly improve and tighten their defense in game 2 (which demonstrates the breadth of their squad as well as their ability to adjust and recalibrate). At the same time, their own attack hadn’t amounted to much, either (save from exploiting the gaps in the Boks’ new system, gaps that won’t be there anymore in a few months’ time), and they haven’t found an answer to the Boks scrum, which almost costed them the 2nd match, if it hadn’t been for pretty much unrepeatable Frawley heroics. In the end, there isn’t much that separates those two sides … which is exactly what we knew before the series already. Back to the drawing board for both teams, the work only just begins for two teams with the highest ambition. Start of a cycle alright.

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FEATURE 'The All Blacks won the series, but not in the way they wanted' 'The All Blacks won the series, but not in the way they wanted'
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