Lam still ex­pects to win games de­spite ro­ta­tion

Western Daily Press (Saturday) - - Rugby - JOHN EVELY jonathan.evely@reach­plc.com

BRIS­TOL Bears head into to­day’s open­ing game in the Euro­pean Chal­lenge Cup look­ing to re­build con­fi­dence and mo­men­tum af­ter a heavy Pre­mier­ship loss last Sun­day.

The Bears were beaten 52-7 by Worces­ter War­riors at Sixways in their first big set­back of the sea­son.

Pat Lam’s side sit tenth in the Gal­lagher Pre­mier­ship af­ter six rounds and now turn their at­ten­tion to Europe, with fixtures home and away against Ital­ian Pro 14 side Ze­bre first up.

Also in Pool Four are Russian side Eni­sei-STM and French Top 14 out­fit La Rochelle. De­spite need­ing a good per­for­mance af­ter the dis­ap­point­ing loss to Worces­ter, Lam said he will use the up­com­ing Chal­lenge Cup and Pre­mier­ship Rugby Cup fixtures to give op­por­tu­ni­ties to other play­ers in the squad, with ro­ta­tion ex­pected.

Lam, pic­tured, ex­plained: “There are five games now be­fore we get back to the Pre­mier­ship, which is our bread and but­ter.

“It’s an op­por­tu­nity for other guys to play, to use the squad over the next five weeks to pre­pare as we get back to the Pre­mier­ship.

“There will be a few changes – a good ro­ta­tion over th­ese next five weeks, but that doesn’t mean we don’t ex­pect to win games.”

Bris­tol have a num­ber of play­ers who are un­avail­able through in­jury, in­clud­ing Jordan Crane (ham­string), Luke Mo­ra­han (groin), Piers O’Conor (foot) and star sign­ing Charles Pi­u­tau (shoul­der).

Bris­tol Bears: T Pin­cus; R Ed­wards, W Hur­rell, S Pi­u­tau (capt), A Leiua; C Sheedy, N Stirza­ker; J Wool­more, S Mal­ton, J Arm­strong, J Latta, J Bat­ley, S Jef­fries, D Thomas, N Hain­ing. Re­place­ments: T Lind­say, Y Thomas, J Afoa, J Heenan, G Smith, A Uren, S Bed­low, T Pisi.

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