Pat Lam impressed by Bristol Bears pre-season

Bristol Bears coach Lam believes his squad is leaps and bounds ahead of where they were previously.

Lam said: “The guys who have been here before have been the real drivers of what we are doing because they know the standards and everyone wants to be better than last year.

“If we are the same as last year we will go backwards. 

“We have been back a couple of weeks now, we are into week two and it has gone really well.

“I think the beauty of the squad being settled and not too many coming in is we can come in at a different starting place [to last season] and I think that is what a lot of boys have commented on.”

The main new addition is Kevin Geary who is the new head of strength & conditioning he has moved from Ulster.

“Certainly Kevin Geary has made an impact with his fitness programme, there has been a big revamp of the programme,” Lam explained.

“It has been the same with the other new players and the new staff, they have come in and made a big difference.”

Lam said: “We highlighted that we play a style of rugby which requires high levels of fitness but also requires skills under pressure, and being able to execute, so there has been a lot of work done on our skills under fatigue in pre-season so far.

“We have co-ordinated a lot of our conditioning around rugby components.

“Every team is saying how good their training is at this stage of the season but we are in our third year now and we can compare to the last few years and this certainly feels like a step up.

“I think we have gone towards our training being a true rugby programme. There is a ball involved in pretty much everything we do, whether we are doing speed, whether we are doing conditioning. There is a real focus on making sure everything we do it relevant to their performance as rugby players on the field, not as sprinters, not as long distance runners, but as rugby players.

“We want them to have that muscle memory, be good decision makers, have that change of speed and execution of skills.”