Head coach Liam Middleton questions Bristol endeavour

Liam Middleton
Middleton is in his first season in charge at Bristol

Bristol head coach Liam Middleton says his senior players must take responsibility for their defeat by Moseley in the British and Irish Cup.

They lost 14-10 at the Memorial Stadium on Wednesday, their second successive defeat in the competition.

"A couple of the younger players played too hard and lost sight of the bigger picture on the field," he told BBC Radio Bristol.

"Some senior players didn't perform and they have to be made accountable."

Before Wednesday's loss, Middleton had been forced to defend his team selection for the tournament, which they won last year, after he fielded a weakened team in their 50-22 defeat by Cornish Pirates.

Middleton wants Bristol response

He kept faith with 10 of the players from that defeat against Moseley but was reluctant to place blame on the youngsters in the squad.

"There was some poor decision making on our part - we had a lot of space to play with and we didn't use it.

"I'll put that down to young players really trying their hardest and probably didn't play heads-up enough and not enough intelligent rugby.

"For some senior players, there's a question over their endeavour in this game, I think maybe there was a bit of holding back.

He added: "They're disappointed and quiet and I said that's how it should be. I don't want anyone being happy about losing at the Memorial Stadium, from guys who have played 100 games from guys who have played their first game for the club - it's unacceptable to lose here."

Bristol have won five of their six games in the Championship this season and Middleton says he will reinstate his strongest side when they meet Esher on Saturday.

"It will be a different side, and you could probably say it's our first-choice side.

"I'm looking for a response from all of our players to Wednesday's loss. I'm expecting them to come out and show us some hard work and better quality rugby."

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