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'What is hurting us the most...': Why Bristol are bottom of Prem

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Bristol boss Pat Lam has insisted that their early-season problem areas are all fixable things after a poor start to the Gallagher Premiership campaign. Just over three months after Bristol reached the title play-offs for a second season running, they find themselves propping up the Premiership table. Successive defeats against Saracens and Wasps left them as the league’s only team without a point. Albeit just two games into the new term, Bristol have conceded more points than any other side and scored a solitary try.


West country rivals Bath are next up for Lam’s men in front of an anticipated 20,000-plus crowd at Ashton Gate on Friday. They will go into battle after losing 26-9 to Saracens, then subsiding 44-8 at Wasps. In each match, Bristol did not register a point after half-time.

“When I sit back and look at both games, and just look at the outcome and the scores, it doesn’t look great,” Bristol rugby director Lam said. “But when you look at the detail – and we have been through it as a team – we had opportunities to win.

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What happened when RugbyPass went behind the scenes at Pat Lam’s Bristol
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What happened when RugbyPass went behind the scenes at Pat Lam’s Bristol

“At this stage, what is probably hurting us the most is the amount of turnovers, our discipline and missed tackles. They are all fixable things. It’s fair to say there are a few players not quite on top of their game, but I feel confident that will come. As we found out last season, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish the season is the most important thing.”

Bristol finished four points clear of the pack following the last 22-game regular season, only to blow a 28-0 lead against semi-final opponents Harlequins and lose after extra time. “We didn’t finish it well at all last season,” Lam added. “We were top of the league. It doesn’t mean anything. We didn’t finish it.

“What’s more difficult is if you have got a game where there are no opportunities and nothing is happening, and that’s why I am confident we are not too far away. Even the best players in the world in any sport have dips, and they face the same scrutiny. For all of us, our goal is to be in the (Premiership) final, and that’s a number of months away. We have the same honest conversations every week, whether we win or lose.


“Feedback is always based on looking at things they (players) did well in the game and the things they would like to improve. We go through that, and that’s how I believe we have got better and got the most out of players. It is another game (on Friday), it is another round. We have had the upper hand on Bath, and I know that is something they want to change. It’s going to be a great occasion. There is a long, long way to go.”


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