It was a painful start to the season for last season’s table toppers, with a defeat at Ashton Gate to newly promoted Saracens in the opening game of the 2021/22 season.
It was looking as if this season was not going to pick up for ‘the greatest showmen’ of the game. Until now. A 37-21 victory over Newcastle Falcons at the weekend made it four wins in a row. Wins over Sale Sharks, Stade Français, Scarlets and Falcons has everyone questioning: Have Bristol turned their season around?
@parklifesport_ Reporters Lowri and Nathan out covering Bristol Bears over the weekend! #BristolBears #Newcastle #NewcastleFalcons #PremRugby ♬ Paradise – Bazzi
Keep ball alive approach and champagne rugby
This new approach has gifted Bears a huge attacking platform that they lacked at the beginning of the season, which consists of superb offloading and playing from deep in their own half. A perfect example of this new approach could be seen by Wales fly half Callum Sheedy against Stade, running the French team off the pitch.
The attacking flow seems to be back for the Bears, having secured a bonus point win in every game so far in 2022, and a combined total of 19 tries scored. We are now seeing them turn possession into points, which was missing the piece of the puzzle for so long.
Looking like players of old
The Piers O’Conor that was shortlisted for Premiership player of the year last season seemed to be missing in action. But since the new year, we have seen a return of the centre who threatens an opposition defence by creating attacking platforms, slick footwork and pushing himself through gaps in defensive lines.
We have also seen young players stepping up to the plate, Ioan Lloyd the Welsh fly-half has been making himself known and is starting to cement himself as a key player for the side. Against the Scarlets, the 20-year-old played at inside centre for the first time, and ran through the Welsh side’s defence for fun.
Keep discipline under check
This return to normality for the West Country side is great, but discipline could soon come back to haunt them. Bears saw three yellow cards against Falcons for repeated infringements defending in their 22. Luckily for Bears, Newcastle were unable to profit, but another team on another day could be produce a completely different outcome.