Bristol Bears director of rugby Pat Lam praised his team’s work ethic after their 34-16 win against Gloucester at Ashton Gate on Saturday.
Lam said his side had reaped the rewards of their work behind the scenes, as Bristol ended a run of four games without a victory.
Second-half tries from debutant Henry Purdy – against his former club – Luke Morahan and Mat Protheroe, and Callum Sheedy’s 19-point haul fired Bristol to a record victory over the Cherry and Whites.
Lam hailed his side’s efforts in a gruelling encounter, but admitted they had ‘missed a golden opportunity’ to take all five points.
“I’m very pleased. We’ve worked very hard and I know we’ve come in for some criticism after our dip, and every team has their dip, we knew we’d come out of it because we identified what it was,” he said.
“And we’re getting the rewards for that – we’ve worked extremely hard on the things that weren’t quite right with our game.
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“I thought today was good – it could have been perfect if we had been a bit more clinical in that last ten minutes. I think we blew a golden opportunity to get the five points, but that’s the sort of team we want to be and we’re certainly working our way there.
“We controlled possession and we controlled territory which takes it toll eventually, we knew the stats show they’re extremely strong in the second half this year.
“We talked at half-time that they needed to be prepared to lift our efforts another level and the boys did that. I was frustrated with the last five minutes; we should have come home strong.
“The forward pack, that’s the key, to play the game you need to earn the right to go forward, going off front-foot ball. Those are things we weren’t doing previously.”