Bristol Bears have had their fair share of highs since being promoted to the Gallagher Premiership this season, perhaps none better than their victory over Saracens at the weekend, but they’re still looking for more as the season winds down.
That 23-21 win against Saracens at Ashton Gate lifted them 11 points clear of Newcastle Falcons at the bottom of the table and, with just three games left to go in the regular season, should be enough to see them avoid relegation back to the Greene King IPA Championship.
It sees them sit in 9th with a points tally of 41, which is just five points behind 6th-placed Northampton Saints, and the dream of Heineken Champions Cup rugby next season lives on for Pat Lam and his charges.
“Top six, that’s what we’re aiming for.
“Until we’re mathematically told we’re not going to make the top six, we’re still striving for it.
“From our own learning and our own growth, we should be in the top six. But that’s just me being impatient. Sometimes you have to go through the pain to actually appreciate being in there.
“So the way we look at it, there are three more games, the next one is Leicester, and there’s another five points, and then you move on to Sale and Newcastle, and if we can get those jobs done then who knows.”
Bristol’s next challenge is a trip to Welford Road to take on a struggling Leicester Tigers side, before hosting Sale Sharks in the penultimate round of the season and finishing up on the road against Newcastle Falcons. With the Bears in good form and having taken 10 points from a possible total of 15 against those three opponents in fixtures earlier this season, the gap to 6th is bridgeable.
Bristol’s productive season on the pitch has been rewarded off of it, with Lam having lured Wasps number eight Nathan Hughes and Bath lock Dave Attwood to Ashton Gate for next season, as well as the trio of Steven Luatua, Alapati Leiua and Jordan Crane having agreed contract extensions with the club.
If Lam can consolidate Bristol’s place in the Premiership over the next 12 months, he will be able to move forward with his vision of a Bristolian core at the heart of the Premiership club.
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