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'Bedford Win Lays Down A Marker For The Play-Offs'

Bristol Rugby captain David Lemi believes the win over Bedford this weekend has set the perfect marker for the play-off semi-final against the Blues.

Last weekend’s win gave us a timely boost heading into an important game for the squad.

We’ve been building and preparing for each game with the play-offs in mind and now that they’re here, the boys are excited about the challenge ahead.

We know Bedford Blues well, so there won’t be any surprises. They will be familiar with us too: the two sides have met twice in the league and twice in the B&I Cup already during the regular season.

To score six tries and attack in the manner that we did at Goldington Road lays down a marker for what is to come. After the disjointed display against Moseley, it was vital that we showed greater fluency in our performance on the final day of the regular season.

One major positive we can take from the result is the fact that we didn’t concede a try. The team showed solidarity in our defensive sets and kept a dangerous Blues outfit at bay. We’ll need to replicate that tenacity and willingness again on Sunday in the first leg of the semi-final.

To go the entire season unbeaten away from home is no mean feat and that record is a line in the sand for us now – we do not want to lose that when we return to Goldington Road for the biggest game of our campaign.

All season we’ve talked about a squad with plenty of depth and options in every position. The quality we have at our disposal was underlined in last Saturday’s bonus point win. The way that Ryan Edwards took his two tries shows what a talent he is and Callum Sheedy continued his recent strong form with another assured performance.

The set-piece was a big weapon for us and we want that to continue in the first leg. Andy [Robinson] and Sean [Holley] have talked all week about the importance of starting well, so we can’t afford to be slow out of the blocks. In knockout rugby, every play and every point counts, so we know how important it is to remain composed in the heat of battle and make the correct decisions.

There’s been a really good mood around the place in the lead up to Sunday’s game. The boys can’t wait to get out there and get started in the games that matter. This is the rugby and the time of the year we look forward to and we want to meet the challenge head on.

Bedford pose plenty of threats in their backline and they’ll be looking to hurt us with ball in hand. We have a huge amount of respect for Mike Rayer and his team and we have prepared well. Ultimately, we can only focus on what we need to do and control the controllables. Nothing is won or lost on Sunday, the key thing for us is to deliver a good performance, execute our game plan and, if we do that effectively, the rest will take care of itself.

We’re receiving a lot of support from fans and on social media. The team know that whoever is lucky enough to take the field this coming weekend will be backed by a big following from the West Country. It makes a huge difference to us knowing we have that passionate support behind us. We’re determined to start the play-offs well and everybody is focused on Sunday and what we need to do to achieve victory.

Written by David Lemi - captain Lemi has had two spells at Bristol  racking up 323 points in the process. Click here to find out more about David on the Bristol Rugby website.

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