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Bakewell aware of Bristol threat

Mark Bakewell knows the threat Bristol Bears pose better than most.

The Tigers forwards coach spent two seasons at the club before making the move to Leicester on Valentine’s Day 2018, working with Pat Lam and many of the squad who he will come up against at Welford Road this afternoon.

Speaking ahead of the Round 20 fixture, Bakewell shared what he believes is the 'biggest' threat of Bristol’s.

“Their intent to attack is their biggest threat with ability to find space in opposition defensive patterns poses the biggest threat,” he said.

A tough 2018/19 campaign for Leicester was given a boost a fortnight ago with a hard-fought away win over Newcastle, which Bakewell believes was helped by the fact the squad have been allowed to build cohesion through consistency in selection.

“Consistency and cohesion is massive,” said Bakewell. “If you look at any teams in sport, the cohesion is there."

The Australian coach has also been impressed with the improvement in the side’s set-piece, at both the lineout and scrum, and shared with LeicesterTigers.com the stats being delivered by the pack.

“For us, in the last 10 or 12 games, in the set-piece our lineout and scrum has been operating at over 90% and we want to continue those numbers over the remaining games this season,” Bakewell added.

The Falcons victory isn’t the only boost the side have been afforded, especially the forward pack, with Tonga international and last season’s Tigers Players' Player of the Year Sione Kalamafoni.

Bakewell, who has coached all over the globe, couldn’t speak highly enough of the Tigers No8 and the impact he ahs on the squad.

“He is probably one of the most underrated players I have ever worked with,” said Bakewell.

“He does more than just his own job and is an outstanding worker.

“To be honest, the biggest thing with Sione is getting him not to do other people’s work!

“He is the ultimate team player and always give 100% … his work rate is the highest in the side and he brings that confidence to the group.

“You know with him on the field, you’re going to have that extra ten percent and it makes a huge difference.”