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Martin Roberts: Bristol Rugby can turn their fortunes around

If Bristol Rugby were in any way unsure of how tough Aviva Premiership Rugby life would be, then they certainly know now.

And after three straight defeats so far this term, scrum-half Martin Roberts admits they need to get a grip soon, but is adamant they have the culture in place to do just that.

Wasps were just two points away from setting a new record for the highest ever score by a team in the division when they cruised past the newly-promoted side 70-22 on Sunday.

That, alongside earlier losses against Harlequins and Northampton Saints, left Bristol bottom of the standings – and they now face last season’s finalists Exeter Chiefs and champions Saracens in back-to-back games.

While Wasps have been lauded in the days since the result for their brilliant attacking play, Roberts insists every other team in the Aviva Premiership would have racked up a big score against his out-of-sorts team.

“It was hugely disappointing. We let ourselves down big time and we have an opportunity on Friday to put that right against Exeter,” he said.

“We are very frustrated with the fact that they scored from our own errors. We need to control the better in contact and that should limit other teams’ chances.

“The Aviva Premiership is a tough competition and we are under no illusions, if you make mistakes and cough up the ball as much as we did then you will get punished.

“It doesn’t matter who we played, any team would have done what Wasps did.

“We have the chance to put things right on Friday and put some pride back into that shirt and I am confident that will happen.

“Things are still good. We are playing quality every week and we knew it would be hard at times but the culture at the club is really good and the boys are all behind each other regardless of selection.

“The team spirit is really good.”

Roberts made his first appearance of the season against Wasps, replacing Will Cliff in the 48th minute.

Bristol have a strong stable of scrum-halfs, with Cliff and Roberts joined by former Wales international Rhodri Williams from Scarlets this summer.

Roberts admits it felt good to get game time against Wasps but understands he may have to be patient this season if he wants to claim the No.9 shirt.

“We are all pushing but we are all mates and are always helping each other, whoever wears the shirt. We are all mucking in and trying to get individually better and trying to push the team forwards,” he said.

“Rhodri is a good player. It goes without saying how well he has played for Scarlets and then he got a couple of Wales caps.

“He has added competition to the nine spot here. Competition for places is good and healthy and it pushes people forward.

“It is about taking your opportunities when they come. I am not in charge of selection and so personally it is about training as well as I can and trying to get better.

“If I do that then I am sure things will get better.”

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