In Pat Lam's office at Clifton RFC – where the Bristol Bears are based – several small framed cards are on the wall next to the door.

Two illustrate the area around Auckland, one of Samoa, the other North Harbor, Christchurch, then Newcastle, Northampton, Galway and Bristol.

The piece was a gift for his 50th birthday last September – Lam's life in various places.

Former Samoa International Pat Lam enjoys life in Bristol as a Bears Head Coach

Former Samoa International Pat Lam enjoys life in Bristol as a Bears Head Coach

The Bristol boss loves communities, coming from a typical Samoan family, and two years after having soiled his paws in the West, one feels steeped in it.

"I saw all the work of Banksy! Lam smiles.

"Stokes Croft is great. I even had a Caribbean meal! I like going there, talking to people behind the wickets.

"The variety is huge in Bristol. He was recently voted the best place in the UK for his opportunities, his lifestyle, his culture and his arts.

I hope that what we do with Bristol City, Rovers and the Flyers makes sport an important part of that.

"I get a lot of support from Bristolians around the world – it's the impact we can have around the world.

PAT LAM FACTFILE

Age: 50

Born: Auckland, New Zealand

Player career

Auckland: 1990-94

North Harbor: 1995-1996

Crusaders: 1996

Newcastle: 1997-1998; 2001-02

Northampton: 1998-01

Samoa: 1991-99 New Zealand: 1992

Coaching career

Scotland (assistant): 2003

Auckland: 2004-08

Pacific Islands: 2006

Blues: 2009-12

Samoa: 2012

Connacht: 2013-17

Bristol: 2017-present

Honors

Premiership – 1998

Heineken Cup – 2000

ITM Cup – 2005, 2007

Pro12 – 2016

& # 39; With the team when I ask "who is a Bristolian?" Few people raise their hands, but when I ask them "who feels like they belong to this community," everyone raises their hand. Some coaches counted the pieces in pounds – $ 650,000 a year for Lam – would give the Premiership a boost and, if they failed, would pack them.

But it seems that while trying to wake up a dormant rugby giant in Bristol who has been out of the top for eight of the past ten seasons, he's not just trying to build a rugby team, but another one. community.

Lam wants to become a Bristol bear to go from work to a "call". He has summoned Bath's Dave Attwood for next season, and the club will help the lock become a city lawyer.

"My culture is entirely family-oriented," Lam told Sportsmail.

"But I think the team sport is a family within a family.

"Previously, you always had the pride of your school, club, county, province, country.

"The professionalism between and everyone moves.

How will I feel playing for my team if I am not native to here? Easy. Get to know people, what it means to them. I realized that when I was coaching Auckland.

& # 39; Auckland and Canterbury – there is not much lost love – it's like Manchester and Liverpool.

"If a player from Canterbury came to Auckland, I would ask him to meet people – they do not see you like in Canterbury, but as a player from Auckland.

"Here they do not see that you come from Samoa, Australia or London, they say" he plays for the Bears ".

"If you bring that sense of belonging and purpose, you will get some performance." This nickname "Bears" – which is named after the club last June – was the brainchild of owner Steve Lansdown and sparked a "heated" reaction from fans with whom Lam had been trying to bond.

The Bristol head coach said his diverse group of players felt they belonged to this community.

The Bristol head coach said his diverse group of players felt they belonged to this community.

But he sees it symbolizing all his message.

Lam has created mini-packs in the team that compete for points at social gatherings and rugby activities throughout the year.

Their names? Sun bears, Kodiaks, Ewoks and … Camemberts.

"We have characters! Lam smiles.

"Few people like change. You can learn from history, but the vision moves you forward.

"The spirit of the bear really sold me. He protects his own community, he will get up and fight if he has to, but he also has that benevolent component, an intelligence.

& # 39; I want the boys to be killers, fierce, aggressive when they are on the ground at the heart of the battle, but compassionate, caring when they visit children, in hospitals and sometimes in the game going strong but be fair.

"It encompasses everything we try to do here.

"The people from Minehead or Taunton, because of the way rugby was, they see Bristol as the team of the city.

"While kids can identify with the Bears – they see the Bears as being bigger than just the city, that's all that area. People can call us Bristol Rugby, that's fine. We know where we are going. Charles Piutau, who plays in the largest stadium in the league, Ashton Gate, founded by billionaire baker Lansdown, could give Bristol a look of pomp and glamor.

But Lam insists that he's not playing at "fantastic rugby". – he would know because he had led the Barbarians to defeat England 63-45 last summer.

Lam says: "The spirit of the bear really sold me. He protects his own people, his community, he will stand up and fight if he has to, but he also has this benevolent component, an intelligence. "

Lam says: "The spirit of the bear really sold me. He protects his own people, his community, he will stand up and fight if he has to, but he also has this benevolent component, an intelligence. "

"That's what it could easily be," he says.

"We could do it, but it's not what it's about.

"People think" Bristol has all this money. "Steve has money, we do not have all Steve's money, we have a salary cap and a security of our supporter.

"We can not count on a Charles Piutau, a Pat Lam or an individual – we must have a plan to be sustainable.

"You look at the Saracens 20 years ago, 15 years ago for Exeter -" who? "

"That's what we want. In 20 years, people will see Bristol as one of the top performing clubs in Europe, and they are looking back 20 years to say they were rubbish!

& # 39; What happened? Something has changed. "We are trying to be this change.

POINTS TO BE REDUCED AFTER THE INTRODUCTION OF BONUS POINTS

2001 12 (Rotherham)

2002 28 (Leeds)

2003: 34 (Bristol)

2004: 3 (Rotherham)

2005: 38 (Harlequin)

2006: 27 (Leeds)

2007: 33 (Northampton)

2008: 12 (Leeds)

2009 17 (Bristol)

2010: 28 (Worcester)

2011: 23 (Leeds)

2012: 32 (Newcastle)

2013: 23 (London Welsh)

2014: 16 (Worcester)

2015: 1 (Welsh London)

2016: 20 (Irish from London)

2017: 20 (Bristol)

2018 22 (Irish from London)

"People say," Why do not you take Faf de Klerk or François Hougaard "? I am 21 years old and 23 years old – both English, a Bristolian – Andy Uren and Harry Randall.

"They are not half-crumbs of the experience or the class of these other guys, but in five years, when they will be known, they will give us pride.

"That's what we want to be like Bristol, like the Bears, to get those guys going. And take a little pain in the process. Recalling that he caught two more expensive test players, Attwood and Nathan Hughes, for next season, Lam justifies the expenses.

"If I had English players and Bristolians aged 23, we would probably still be in the championship," he adds.

"You have to find the right balance. We have very clearly defined our plan to become a team of the Champions Cup. It's the vision, it's the goal, it's where these players are and where they can get others to go. "All of these changes will seem futile if the Bears lose their grip around the Premiership tree." With four games to play and the Saracens home Saturday, they are not immune to a stint. another relegation – but Lam is inflexible, Bristol's claws are at the origin of this fight.

"We will not slip," he says.

"We had 11 years of Bristolians panicking at this time of the season. This is not an overnight fix – it is a five year plan.

"In chaos, people say" you have to win this game ", buddy, we have to win every game.

"The tightening you become with your friends, is for those moments of pressure.

"If you are in a difficult situation, what do you want with you?

& # 39; Your closest friends, your family. This is what it is: under pressure, we can count on people. If you do not have relationships, it's superficial.

"You can see the desperation and hunger for the team to succeed. That's what we are working on to build. If Bristol stays in place, you feel Lam has prepared everything.

Lam's team is not yet immune to relegation but Lam is adamant that they're not going to fall

Lam's team is not yet immune to relegation but Lam is adamant that they're not going to fall

.