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Jack Lam: Bristol Rugby committed to climbing steep learning curve

Jack Lam believes Bristol Rugby are on a steep learning curve but he and the team are committed to getting it right back in Aviva Premiership Rugby.

Bristol earned promotion back to the top tier last season after seven years away but have failed to pick up a victory in their first four games of the new campaign.

Samoan intentional flanker Lam joined the Ashton Gate outfit from Super Rugby side the Hurricanes back in 2014 and, like many of the squad, is now getting his first taste of Aviva Premiership Rugby.

And the 28-year-old is refusing to get downhearted despite the early results not quite going their way.

“Everyone knows we’re still the young, fresh side in the competition and that’s how we’re looking at it as well,” said Lam, speaking at the launch of this year’s Aviva Community Fund alongside team-mates Jordan Crane and Tom Varndell.

“We haven’t taken too much disappointment in our performances over the last few weeks because we’ve been up against quality sides.

“All we could do is pick the positives out, move forward and ensure we are learning from our mistakes so we’re not revisiting stuff each week. We’re only going to get better.

“The intensity is a lot higher in the Aviva Premiership than the Championship. The quality of rugby as well is a step up.

“We’ve put a target out to finish in the top eight this year – that’s our ambition as a club. We don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves but we’re not here just to survive either.”

The Aviva Community Fund is a nationwide initiative that lends a helping hand to local communities by offering support and funding for local clubs, causes and projects.

It has already benefited over 320,000 people, through 431 winning projects across the UK, and this year, local grassroots sports clubs can apply or reapply for funding in a new, sport-specific category.

And Lam – who was born in New Zealand but grew up in Australia – believes that rugby can play a vital role in local communities.

“It’s all about building a community and rugby clubs are great for that,” he added. “Funding can only help the clubs provide the facilities that the kids need to take up the sport.

“The clubs need certain things to function, so that the kids can enjoy themselves at the weekend and funds like this are great for helping with that.

“My memories of youth rugby are definitely happy ones. I still go back to my club now and then and try to play in a couple of club games from time to time.

“The set-up is slightly different in Australia and New Zealand but I’ve got massive memories of playing alongside other guys who have made it professionally as well which makes it all the more special.”

Lam cut his rugby teeth in the southern hemisphere and concedes that it has taken him a while to adapt to the style of play north of the equator.

“In the northern hemisphere, I’m slowly getting used to the different focuses,” explained Lam. “Over here there is much more attention on the set-piece, whereas in the southern hemisphere they break it down to the core skills.

“I’ve just had to adapt to that – that’s the game here and I’ve tried to bring some of my experiences from the southern hemisphere over as well.

“I’ve definitely had to adapt otherwise I would have just got left behind and be playing the game by myself.”

Premiership Rugby and the 12 Aviva Premiership Rugby Clubs are supporting the Aviva Community Fund, a nationwide initiative which offers funding of up to £25,000 to grassroots sports clubs and other community organisations close to your heart. Enter at aviva.co.uk/community-fund from September 13.

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