Pat Lam: Bristol won race to top of mountain – now it’s about who plants flag

Kyle Sinckler starts against his former club today with Pat Lam warning his table toppers not to take their foot off the gas.

Bristol are favourites to beat Harlequins in the first of two Premiership semi-finals having finished the regular season as top dogs.

But team boss Pat Lam said: “Although we won the race to the top of the mountain there’s now four teams at the top and it’s about which one puts the flag in the mountain.

“That is the team that will be remembered. The flag can’t be removed. It’s locked in history.”

Lions-bound Sinckler, who moved to Bristol last year after 146 appearances for Quins, returns to Bears’ starting line-up along with fullback Charles Piutau.

Bristol finished 14 points clear of fourth-placed Quins and won both regular season fixtures against them.

Bristol director of rugby Pat Lam

But the Londoners were easily top scorers in the premiership and finished the season like a train.

“Quins have been on fire,” admitted Lam, who was named Premiership boss of the season. “There are no shackles at all, the way they play.

“We understand the challenge. It is no surprise to us and we understand that we face a serious threat.”

Bristol: C Piutau; Morahan, Radradra, S Piutau (co-capt), Malins; Sheedy, Uren; Y Thomas, Thacker, Sinckler, Attwood, Vui, Luatua (co-capt), D Thomas, Hughes.

Replacements: Capon, Woolmore, Afoa, Joyce, Earl, Randall, Lloyd, O’Conor.

Harlequins: Green; Lynagh, Marchant, Tapuai, Morris; Smith, Care; Marler, Baldwin, Louw, Symons, Lewies (capt), Lawday, Kenningham, Dombrandt.

Replacements: Gray, Garcia Botta, Collier, Lamb, J Chisholm, Landajo, Lang, Northmore.

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