Hard work's the key for a return to winning ways, says Bristol Rugby's Matt Ferguson
MATT Ferguson has reminded Bristol's players that there is only one means to end their losing streak – hard work.
Bristol, who travel to Cardiff in the British & Irish Cup tomorrow, have lost their last three matches and four of their six Championship games this season.
They are hoping to use the much-maligned B&I Cup not only as a competition in which to enjoy success in its own right, but as a way of kick-starting their Championship campaign.
And scrum coach Ferguson believes the only solution to ending a run of three straight defeats is good, honest graft.
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"The one thing that has impressed me from day one here is the appetite and attitude of the boys. The work ethic here is fantastic," said Ferguson.
"There have been changes within the personnel, coaching staff and ideas, and that all takes time to bed in. The only way of getting round that is through hard work – and the more you do on the pitch, the better it will come.
"I'm thoroughly enjoying my time here and I realise there's a lot more hard work to come. I only know one way – and I know that hard work is the way to be successful.
"With the players' attitude, which is excellent, and players returning from injury all the time, it's an exciting time for us to move on.
"We as a club and a coaching team strive to be the best we can be, and that doesn't involve standing still.
"We strive to push ourselves and the players, and this is another chance for us to go out on Saturday and put across what we've been doing on the training pitch."
Bristol are expected to make a handful of changes from the side beaten 23-16 at Rotherham last weekend, with George Watkins ready to make his first appearance of the season after an ankle injury.
Argentina prop Gaston Cortes is also in line for a debut, after coming through two weeks of training alongside his new team-mates, while flanker Redford Pennycook is also in contention to return to action.
And Bristol are vowing to take the B&I Cup, a competition they won as recently as May 2011, seriously again this term.
"The context of the B&I Cup is that we sat down as a squad at the start of the season and focused on the fact we were going to look to go as far as we can in this competition," said Ferguson.
"Therefore, what's happened previously this season hasn't changed anything, we're still the same team with the same targets – nothing else makes any difference.
"But it is an opportunity for us to play again and an opportunity for us to work on those areas we've talked about improving. And every time we enter a field, we're keen to be successful.
"We will always select a team that we feel can win the game, and there will be no difference this weekend. There will be a team going out there that we feel will carry the torch forward for Bristol.
"It's an England-Wales battle at Cardiff Arms Park, and what a great fixture on a great weekend of rugby.
"For me, it's simply a case of us now saying, 'This is what we've achieved so far, we're now pushing on to a new competition and let's make sure we put all we can into being successful there'."