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Bristol Bears forward James Dun opens up on ‘frustrating’ season at Ashton Gate

Bristol Bears second-rower James Dun has detailed the squad’s frustrations at their Premiership campaign so far, but he believes the Bears are now on the up.

Bristol Bears second-rower James Dun has detailed the squad’s frustrations at their Premiership campaign so far, but he believes the Bears are now on the up.

Pat Lam’s side haven’t lived up to expectation so far this season. Two wins in the opening rounds seemed to show the Bears were back to their best, however the West Country outfit would go onto win just two of their next eight in the Premiership.

Speaking to Rugby Nause News ahead of Bristol’s clash with Northampton Saints this weekend, Dun detailed his frustration at their poor start.

“Obviously we started off the first two games with quite good wins against Leicester and Northampton, but then we probably went into our shells a little bit,” he said.

“We had a tough loss against Quins the week after, losing in the last minute, and then from there we went on a bit of a poor run. I think frustration is probably the right word.”

“I think nothing the other teams did really affected us, we were making our own errors. Our discipline was poor and we were giving teams easy wins and let them get into the game really easily. There has been a bit of frustration.”

This poor run in the early part of the season looked to have derailed the Bears campaign, but just before the break they seemed to have pulled it back. They downed Sale Sharks at the Salford Community Stadium, and also won the thriller against local rivals Bath at Ashton Gate. These wins have seen Bristol once again enter the race for the playoff’s, and they sit just seven points off second-placed Harlequins.

“The last few Premiership games against Sale and Bath, we’ve been on an upward curve,” said Dun. “The plan is to just try and keep that going.”

The win against Sale might have been what ended their poor run of form, but the mammoth 57-44 win over Bath showed Bristol at their attacking best.

The Bears scored eight tries on the day, and it was also their highest points tally of the season.

Reflecting back on the win, Dun believes it could be the game that reignites their season.

“I think so, because in some of our games this year where we’ve been losing, there’s been errors.”

“The fans want to come and see exciting rugby and that Bath game is exactly the sort of game we want to give to our fans. Obviously we want to defend better than that, we don’t want to be giving away 40 points, but the high scoring games where there’s attacking rugby on show is what we want our identity to be.”

James Dun on Bristol’s return to all out attack

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When the Bears have been at their best, they have gone for full throttle attack.

Think back to a couple of years, and a Bears team comprising of Ben Earl, Max Malins, Semi Radrada, Charles Piutau et al were throwing the ball around for fun; but they seem to have drifted away from that slightly.

The win over Bath showed they are trying to get back to that attacking style, and Dun said they want to get back to the ‘Bears way’.

“I think that’s the way we want to play. When players sign here, they buy into it, and we call it the Bears way. Whatever pitch is thrown at us, we’re ready to attack against them.”

Whilst he expressed his joy at playing ‘the Bears way’, he knows they need a blend of joue and brute force, and he detailed their need to also run ‘through’ their opponents.

“Even though we want to play an attacking style, we know that we still need to go through teams as well. If we’re always just going out the back and attacking wide, teams are going to be able to defend that; so we know we need to be able to go over them, around them or through them.”