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Page last updated at 16:57 GMT, Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Head coach Paul Hull praises Bristol confidence

Bristol head coach Paul Hull
Paul Hull's Bristol finished top of the Championship last season

Bristol head coach Paul Hull says his team are full of confidence after securing a Championship play-off spot.

Hull's side beat Plymouth Albion 18-13 on Sunday to guarantee a top-eight finish in the table with one game of the season remaining.

"We are going forward and feeling very confident as a group of players," he told BBC Radio Bristol.

"Sometimes winning ugly is just about winning and it wasn't pretty to watch but I'm really pleased we got the win."

Tries from Junior Fatialofa and Jack Tovey cancelled out scores from Aaron Carpenter and Kieran Hallett to rescue Bristol's season and condemned Albion to a place in the relegation play-offs.

"I tried to stay calm but they were underneath our posts and we were defending for our lives. If they had scored there they would have got the conversion and they could have won the game," added Hull.

It's been a difficult time but I'm really pleased we've turned it round at the right end of the season

Paul Hull

"But the confidence was there, the discipline was there - although it wasn't there in the first half and I think nerves got to the players. But we talked about composure at half-time and we had discipline towards the end which held them out.

"We always knew this was the game. Wherever we were in the league, this was the game we had to win so we're in a great position. We've put ourselves in this position and we can now look forward."

Last season Hull's side finished top of the Championship but lost both legs of their play-off final to Exeter Chiefs.

And in the wake of them failing to secure a place in the Premiership, the club were forced to make cuts to their budget and lost a number of key players, including Tom and Luke Arscott, Luke Eves, Redford Pennycock, Lee Robinson and Alex Crockett.

And despite scrapping through to the play-offs this season, Hull believes that Bristol have now turned a corner and are ready to fight for promotion.

"It's been a difficult time but I'm really pleased we've turned it round at the right end of the season just in the nick of time," he said.

"We know there's still a lot of work to be done, we'll probably be seeded right at the bottom of the pool but we'll give it everything we've got.

"We wanted to build momentum to give ourselves confidence and we've done that.

"We've come through a couple of tight scrapes. We've got three tough games coming up and we'll evaluate where we are and sort out a plan for stage two."

Bristol travel to Rotherham on Saturday before two British and Irish cup games against Munster and Melrose.

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see also
Bristol forward Budgett to retire
15 Feb 11 |  Rugby Union
Bristol must work for wins - Hull
11 Jan 11 |  English
Brain leaves as Bristol cut back
01 Jun 10 |  Rugby Union
Hull set for an emotional night
25 May 10 |  Rugby Union
Bristol 10-29 Exeter
26 May 10 |  English

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