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Where Warren Gatland's Wales are poised to do the most damage

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Gutted Bristol boss Pat Lam reacts to his side's latest humbling

By PA
Bristol Bears' Director of Rugby Pat Lam (Photo by Bob Bradford - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Bristol director of rugby Pat Lam felt his players were their own worst enemies in their 23-7 defeat by London Irish which left them rooted to the foot of the Premiership table.

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It is only 18 months since Bristol finished top of the league at the end of the regular season but they are now a far cry from that side.

Despite having England props Ellis Genge and Kyle Sinckler back in their starting line-up they were comfortably second best in most areas to a fired-up Irish.

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The hosts had far more industry and attacking ideas to their game and were rewarded with tries from Benhard van Rensburg and Ben White. Rory Jennings converted both and added three penalties.

A try from Harry Thacker converted by AJ MacGinty was Bristol’s sole response.

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Lam said: “The table doesn’t lie and it’s not ideal to be where we are now from where we once were.

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“We are living on scraps as we had 30 per cent territory and 30 per cent possession and if we flip those figures around, what could we do with that amount of ball?

“We had one attack in the first half, which we scored from, and just one more in the second half as the rest of the time we spent defending.

“There was a 19-7 penalty count against us and penalties conceded in tough conditions is a double whammy as it’s so hard to retrieve the territory lost.

“We couldn’t get any foothold in the match as ill-discipline made it extremely difficult for us and there’s huge frustration in the changing rooms as it’s killing us.”

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Bristol lock Joe Batley said: “We didn’t make it easy for ourselves as we gave away too many penalties.

“We couldn’t seem to string any phases together and Irish were very clinical by taking the points on offer.”

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Irish director of rugby Declan Kidney said: “Bristol are a very dangerous side if you give them possession but we managed to keep them out of our 22 for large parts of the game.

“We also managed to take our opportunities at pivotal times as our success rate in their 22 was very good and the 10 points we picked up either side of half-time was crucial.

“We played some smart rugby and if we continue to do that, who knows where we may end up.”

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