The week’s break has left the boys raring to go and we’re looking forward to hitting the ground running against Yorkshire Carnegie on Sunday.
It’s been well documented that we only need three points to secure a place in the play-offs, but we aren’t thinking too much about that going into the clash at Headingley. Ultimately, that goal of making the top four has been all but achieved now, so we just have to keep focusing on playing well, being solid defensively and executing our opportunities.
Yorkshire will be there or thereabouts come the end of the season and it’s always a tough game up there. They showed in the game at Ashton Gate that they can be a threat with ball in hand, but I think we have grown as a team a lot since then.
Certainly over the Christmas period and through January and February we’ve played some really positive rugby and improved massively across the board. The result against Ealing Trailfinders was probably our most complete performance because we were well organized in defence and pretty ruthless in attack. Credit to them, they didn’t roll over at any point, we had to fight for every try and that made the victory even more meaningful for us.
It was fantastic to see Ian Evans back out on the field because he has worked so hard over a long period to get back to fitness. It’s never nice seeing a team-mate suffer such a serious injury but Yanto has always been a positive influence around the training ground and he will have a big impact on our squad heading into the play-offs.
We’re chuffed to have Olly fit and firing in the back row as well. He’s closing in on my try-scoring record for Bristol, so I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to hold onto it! On a serious note, the competition in the back row will only serve to benefit everyone, especially when the likes of Marco Mama and Rayn Smid are close to being back in the mix as well.
The boys are in a good place but the key is for us to keep pushing on now. We have the belief that we can go all the way and we’ve shown in our recent performances that we have the quality to beat any team in this competition if we show the right attitude and desire. Yorkshire will give us a benchmark of how far we have progressed since the start of the season, but we know only too well that it’s about getting our performance right for the challenges that lie ahead in the not too distant future.