Finlay Bealham: Claws out for Bears

16 January 2024

Finlay Bealham: Claws out for Bears

Champions Cup, Friday night under lights in Galway is the place to be when Bristol Bears come to town for the final game of the Pool stages. Kick off on Friday is 8pm.

When the Pools where drawn and the fixtures confirmed this was a game both clubs would be looking forward to with the familiarity between coaches and player. The English side are coached by former Connacht Head Coach and the man who led the province to Pro12 glory back in 2016, Pat Lam. Their squad see's a few familar faces as well such as AJ MacGinty, Jake Heenan and Kieran Marmion.

For Connacht, Joe Joyce is a Bristolian having played with the Bears for over ten years while John Muldoon began his professional coaching career with the English side.

Speaking ahead of the game to the media was prop forward Finlay Bealham, he was asked about Big Joe (Joyce) and how he might be feeling leading up to Friday.

"I think Joe and Mul are both very excited about this game on Friday"

"Any time you come up against a former club or friends there's a bit more to the week regards that individual and how they are feeling"

"He's a Bristol lad and spent such a long time at that club"

"It might be a weird feeling for him waking up that morning but you know come kick off Joe he will be ready to give another massive performance like he has all season"

Making his first return to Galway after leaving last summer is Kieran Marmion. The scrum half played over 200 times for the Connacht and is a very close friend to Finlay.

"Me and Kieran would be really good mates"

"He was a groomsman at my wedding so we'll definitely catch up after the game and on Saturday"

"I've played against friends before and once you cross that white line its just business"

Both teams will be looking to end the Pool stages on a high and Finlay expects a tough eighty minutes ahead.

"We know Bristol are a very dangerous side"

"They've got plenty of quality players"

"We let our supporters down the last time out at home in the champions Cup so we want to put in a massive performance for them more than anything"

"The last game here in Galway the weather was awful but those fans were incredible"

"The rain was coming down hard that night but you could still hear them"