Pat Lam declared himself “extremely proud” of his side for coming back from 16-10 down to run out 32-19 winners over RC Toulon in their first European Rugby Challenge Cup final on Friday night.
Bristol were quick out the blocks and set a new record for the fastest try in a European match as Harry Randall darted over the line after just 15 seconds with a conversion and a three-pointer from Callum Sheedy putting the Bears 10-0 up.
⏱️ 15.64 seconds— Ultimate Rugby (@ultimaterugby) October 17, 2020
Presenting the fastest try in European history from the start of a match 🔥 pic.twitter.com/uEYoPxD14k
But a fightback from Toulon saw Lams' trail t the break by six points.
A pulsating second half performance turned the game well into Bristol's favour with Max Malins scoring what would prove to be the crucial try on the hour mark.
The performance in the second period left Lam “extremely proud” of his side, who may well have another final on their hands next week if Wasps are unable to take the field against Exeter.
“I’m extremely proud that we were true to ourselves, that’s all I asked of the boys before the game,” Lam told BBC Radio Bristol.
“I said let’s celebrate who we are, the Bristol Bears, and what that means. It is not just a name, it’s our culture. I also said let’s have no fear in the final and be true to ourselves, and we were.
“When we got to 10-0 a few things started to go wrong and Toulon worked their way into the game and we were down 16-10.
“We spoke at half-time and said we needed to get better at the breakdown and that the opportunities were there if we tidied up our stuff and the boys did that, problem solved, and we came home strong.
“Toulon were big men, they wanted to slow us down but we said it was not about the referee or the opposition, it was about us. There were spaces available if we got out of the breakdown quickly and it made a massive difference. Fair play to the players.”
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