Pat Lam insists his Bears are under no illusions that they must perform and rise to the occasion when they take on Dragons in the last eight of the European Challenge Cup at Ashton Gate on Friday night (kick-off 7.45pm).
Friday night’s showdown will see Lam come up against former teammate, Dean Ryan.
And the Bears boss believes his team must be switched on against a Dragons side that have had time to prepare for the knockout clash.
“Dean (Ryan) is a great man, a great coach and the teams he coaches are certainly reflective of who he is – a good man and tough,” he said.
“So, there’s no doubt we’ll see that on Friday night – they will be well prepared, they’ve had a couple of weeks to build up for this game, probably longer, so we’re under no illusions.
“People put us as favourites because we’re at home, but we’re under no illusions of what we face and making sure we’re prepared for that and are able to bring, and control, our game is crucial.”
The Bears went unbeaten in the pool stage to earn home advantage and a second place seeding for the knockout stages.
And Lam admits anticipation levels have been rising all week in the Bristol camp.
“The excitement of the guys has gone up another level,” said Lam.
“To come into a knockout rugby game, with the opportunity that, at the end of that final whistle, you can go into a home semi-final, it’s huge for the club, but also the players.
“I think the players recognise the work that we did to put ourselves in this situation – they certainly don’t want to waste that opportunity and want to be at their best.”
Dean (Ryan) is a great man, a great coach and the teams he coaches are certainly reflective of who he is – a good man and tough...