Bristol boss Pat Lam braced for gruelling fixture schedule

Pat Lam is ready for the “challenge” of navigating Bristol through a congested Gallagher Premiership fixture schedule.

The title contenders face an immediate block of three games in nine days, beginning with Friday’s trip to west country rivals Gloucester as the restarted league season gathers pace.

And there will be no let-up, with Bristol having played an average of one match every four days by the time they face European Challenge Cup quarter-final opponents the Dragons on September 18.

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“It’s like anything in life,” Bristol rugby director Lam said. “The challenge was put in place.

“I think the number one thing is that we want to play games, so that’s good, and then it is about making a plan about how we are going to do that.

“All those who played on Saturday (against Saracens) went and did recovery on Monday. All those that didn’t play went out and did a pretty physical session, and that’s what it is going to be right through this time.

“As far as selection goes, the plan is to try and pick the strongest possible team every time. Obviously, take out injuries, take out niggles.

“When it (the schedule) came out, we knew it would be congested, but we want to play the games. Everyone is in the same boat, so it is around your planning.

“After each game, you are reassessing where everyone is at. You are checking injuries and niggles versus guys who are fresh and ready to go.

“Our depth is a lot better than it was, so there are options available. You assess after every game, and you manage the week.”

Worcester Warriors v Gloucester Rugby – Gallagher Premiership – Sixways Stadium
Worcester Warriors v Gloucester Rugby – Gallagher Premiership – Sixways Stadium

Gloucester, fresh from crushing Worcester 44-15 in their first game of the Premiership restart, are now under the direction of new head coach George Skivington.

And Lam is ready for a stern examination, while also underlining their mercurial fly-half Danny Cipriani’s threat.

Lam added: “Gloucester, even though they’ve had a change of coaching staff, the thing that is consistent is they are a momentum team that want to go forward and give Danny a chance to play and do his magic.

“He is a special player. If we don’t get it right, and he gets front-foot ball, then he can cause a lot of problems. That’s the class he has.

“It is going to be up to us to make sure we can deal with that and try to impose our game.”