Gallagher Premiership leaders Bristol filled the gap in their January fixtures calendar by staging a Bears Got Talent show – headlined by John Afoa – to help break up the routine of endless training since their last outing versus Exeter on January 9. Bristol get back into action on Friday night when they host Bath at Ashton Gate following a 20-day gap in between games.

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The downtime didn’t go to waste as Pat Lam used the layoff caused by the cancellation of their Heineken Champions Cup games to help boost squad morale by reprising the Bears Got Talent show normally held during pre-season.  

“The guys have such a good understanding of how we want to play, but the best thing is they get the balance right. They will get the temperature right that we arrive at the game right. There is a lot of laughter, a lot of joking and pranking,” explained Lam about the mood amongst his current Premiership league leaders. 

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“We had another Bears Got Talent and there are many talented guys there in many groups and they put on a great show, but they know when it is time to work. I love that, I love the balance and that leadership group certainly drive a lot of that.

“We had it last week. We normally have it pre-season. I used to have Connacht’s Got Talent, Blues Got Talent, put the guys out of their comfort zone. They had to do an item on the list two minutes long but John Afoa, the group he is always in, will take the mickey out of me and the coaching staff doing impersonations and he lived up to form again. Siale Piutau did a great job of mimicking me.”

Asked who had limited or no talent, Lam added: “There is a group that tried to sing a song and I felt for them. They went first and you thought, ‘Yeah, that’s okay’. But the next three were another level which made that group not look so good.”

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Bristol will take on Bath with 19-year-old Ioan Lloyd set to make his first-ever Gallagher Premiership start as an out-half having made his six previous league starts at either full-back or left-wing. He gets the No10 jersey after the benched Callum Sheedy spent the earlier part of this week in training with Wales. Talent show star Afoa will start as the Bristol tighthead

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