It’s the Semi Radradra homecoming game/one of the biggest games Bristol have played since reestablishing themselves as a top side in English rugby, travelling to France to take on Bordeaux-Begles with the prize of a home quarter-final awaiting the winner.
Radradra was excellent for UBB before joining Bristol and he’s made quite the impression in the West Country too. But Bristol will need a collective effort today if they are to get past one of the Top 14’s stronger clubs, with Bordeaux-Begles leading the league last season before the 2020-21 campaign was cancelled.
Bristol meanwhile have been busy pulling off unlikely victories in recent weeks, including a heart-stopping comeback last week against Harlequins.
Pat Lam will be hoping for a smoother afternoon in France, but he’s unlikely to get one. Their captain, Steven Luatua, will be desperately missed. But the good news is that Charles Piutau is back (starting) along with Harry Randall (on the bench).
And let’s not forget, it’s only less than three years since Bristol were even promoted back to the Premiership after Lam’s first season at the club, arriving from Connacht. He spoke about those early days and incentives extensively this week.
Bristol had been struggling, I knew that, and they said they needed some success. But they also spoke about Bristol the city, the history of the club, the people, the potential, the importance of a strong rugby team to inspire the community. They had me sold then.
Even when we were winning games against Bedford and Richmond and Hartpury, our standard was Champions Cup. We never got complacent with victories or losses, we just took our learnings in preparation to come and beast this tournament.
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