Bristol have had to wait a long time for their return to Aviva Premiership Rugby but now that it is here – skipper Jack Lam does not want his side to fluff their lines.
The West Country outfit kick off life back in the top flight at the London Double Header at Twickenham when they take on Harlequins next weekend.
It has been a seven-year absence for Bristol and in that time they have come agonisingly close to promotion on numerous occasions.
But Andy Robinson’s side finally got it right last season and kick off their campaign against a Quins side getting used to life without Conor O’Shea.
And Samoan flanker Lam – who has been at Bristol since 2014 – insists they are ready to prove their worth on the big stage.
“Everyone is very excited. Not only is it our first game in the Aviva Premiership but I can’t wait to play at Twickenham – we’ll have to not get caught up too much in the occasion,” he said.
“This will be my second time playing there after I played against England with Samoa. I remember watching games when I was younger there, following the All Blacks when they played England in Test matches over here.
“There’s a lot of history and it’s exciting to be part of that.
“It’s been a hard road to get here; the boys have worked very hard to get here and we want to make sure we’re here to stay.
“We’re definitely buzzing to get back in to rugby now. All the boys are excited and we can’t wait until next weekend at Twickenham.”
Lam takes over the captaincy this season from compatriot David Lemi and the former Hurricane cannot wait to get started in the role.
And with a number of new additions like Jordan Crane and Jon Fisher bringing top-flight experience – the mood is optimistic ahead of the season’s curtain raiser.
“It’s a huge honour and a privilege to lead the side into this season, especially for such a proud city and big rugby community as Bristol is; I am very proud,” added Lam.
“We’ll have to overcome the experience of the other teams this year. They have been around the competition for quite a while, and that makes things tough, but at the same time we have tried to focus on ourselves.
“We can handle what we can with our own game, and we have a nice balance with a few older boys as well."
Some guys have played at this level before or internationally, and so everyone can feed off each other in the nervous times.
“It’s going to be a good mix, as the energy and enthusiasm of the younger boys to just be playing in the Aviva Premiership could give us an edge as well.
“Guys like Tom Varndell and Jordan Crane have already been putting their arms around a lot of the boys’ shoulders, and it has really helped up gel in the last couple of weeks. It’s been a seamless transition in many ways.”
Start the Aviva Premiership Rugby Season in style with two games from £25 at Twickenham. Harlequins v Bristol Rugby and Saracens v Worcester Warriors in the London Double Header, 3 September. Tickets available from ticketmaster.co.uk