Lam’s vi­sion starts emerg­ing in Bris­tol

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Rugby Union - By Daniel Schofield

If a sin­gle try en­cap­su­lated Pat Lam’s vi­sion for Bris­tol then it would be Henry Purdy’s score against Glouces­ter last Friday night.

While the try be­longed to Purdy, all the ku­dos went to Semi Radradra. Nearly all rugby fans will have seen the Fi­jian’s ram­pag­ing run – the fends, steps and no-look one-hand off­load – that has al­ready drawn hun­dreds of thou­sands of views on­line.

Far less recog­nised are the cogs be­hind the wheel, which gave Radradra the plat­form to tear Glouces­ter to pieces.

Even Purdy, rather than be­ing the grate­ful re­cip­i­ent of a gift of an off­load, was just as in­te­gral to the score as Radradra, ac­cord­ing to Lam.

“When you look at the try Semi cre­ated for Henry Purdy, every­one sees the no-look off­load,” the Bris­tol di­rec­tor of rugby said. “What peo­ple did not see was how Henry started on the out­side, came on the in­side and screamed ‘I’m on your right, Semi’.

“The fact that Semi did not have to look was down to Henry bust­ing his back­side to get there. All of those things are the things we high­lighted.

“Even the break he made that he made for the try is from a Bears sys­tem.

“Every­one else is do­ing their jobs. Nathan Hughes gave us the go-for­ward, Kyle Sinck­ler ran a good line which cre­ated the space and Cal­lum Sheedy gave him a nice ball early. All that space came from the other boys do­ing their jobs.”

While Radradra ar­rived at Bris­tol from Bordeaux on one of rugby union’s fat­test con­tracts, wing Purdy was picked up af­ter be­ing re­leased by Glouces­ter.

Nat­u­rally much of the fo­cus grav­i­tates to­wards the su­per­stars, but for ev­ery Sinck­ler there is at least one Ed Holmes. The sec­ond row ar­rived with lit­tle fan­fare on emer­gency loan from tonight’s op­po­nents, Ex­eter, and has since es­tab­lished him­self as one of the team’s most con­sis­tent per­form­ers.

“The Bris­tol Bears cul­ture and ev­ery­thing we stand for is that every­one treats each other like they would be like to be treated,” Holmes said. “There is no di­vide, say, between the lime­light stars and the acad­emy. Across the board play­ers are treated the same.”

Af­ter rack­ing up seven con­sec­u­tive wins, Bris­tol face their stiffest test yet against Ex­eter in the clash of the Premier­ship’s top two. Lam ar­gues what sep­a­rates Ex­eter, and pre­vi­ously Sara­cens, from the rest of the league is the clar­ity of their vi­sion, which he is now on his way to in­stalling in Bris­tol.

“Of­ten peo­ple ask how you take a Cham­pi­onship player and get him play­ing re­ally well, but it is just about clar­ity,” Lam said. “The worst thing is not hav­ing clar­ity. You are not sure on the game plan or what the team is try­ing to achieve. No mat­ter how much you are be­ing paid, play­ers do not like that.”

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