Pat Lam gained a European Cup with one among Exeter’s key coaches, however will put that friendship apart on Friday as he makes an attempt to make Bristol kings of the south west – and England.
Bears boss Lam was in the identical Northampton Saints aspect as Chiefs head coach Ali Hepher, the pair lifting the Heineken Cup in 2000.
Lam additionally invited Hepher to check his Auckland Blues aspect when the Samoan coached there.
Bristol Bears boss Pat Lam (L) has hailed his friendship with Exeter coach Ali Hepher (R)
‘I at all times stay up for seeing him at video games and it’s no shock in any respect that he’s doing rather well,’ mentioned Lam of Hepher who helped information Exeter to the European and home double final 12 months.
‘We have been alleged to have an enormous Northampton reunion final 12 months nevertheless it bought cancelled due to Covid.
‘I knew then Ali had a great rugby mind and we labored rather well collectively. That was an enormous a part of that success.
He mentioned he knew Hepher had ‘a great rugby mind’ from their time taking part in collectively for Northampton Saints
‘It was a good time we spent collectively and never solely on the rugby subject. He is a fantastic man socially, him and his brother Simon. We bought on rather well.’
However now answerable for Bristol Lam is hoping they’re extra than simply noisy neighbours to the reigning champion Chiefs.
The Bears look dead-set on a house playoff semi-final, twelve factors clear on the high with six common rounds left, so this match might be a pre-cursor for June’s closing.
Lam and his gamers are making ready for a ‘harmful’ Chiefs aspect as they bid to win the title
‘Our full consideration is on making an attempt to get to the highest of the Premiership mountain, and these guys are the blokes who’ve persistently been there for the previous few years,’ added Lam who’s with out injured trio Semi Radradra, Harry Randall and Callum Sheedy at Ashton Gate.
‘They’re at all times a harmful workforce. In the event you play as people towards any workforce, notably Exeter, you’ve got bought no probability in any respect.
‘Each sport towards them has just about a one-score margin. I’m anticipating a lot of the identical – a very good battle, proper to the wire.’