Bristol boss Pat Lam

London (AFP) - Bristol boss Pat Lam said his team were “reaping the fruit of their labour” as they maintained their push for a place in the English Premiership play-offs with a 51-26 hammering of Harlequins.

Sunday’s victory saw Bristol top 50 points for the second straight game following a 62-8 thrashing of Northampton last time out.

This time around they ran in seven tries with Harry Thacker and Charles Piutau crossing twice and Gabriel Ibitoye, Semi Radradra and Harry Randall also touching down against Harlequins.

Only the top four at the end of the regular campaign qualify for the title-deciding play-offs.

Bristol have won 19 points from a possible 20 in their last four matches, a fine run of form that has left them just seven points off the play-off places with a game in hand.

“I am extremely pleased for the boys,” said Bristol director of rugby Lam.

“This run has got us into the Champions Cup zone, now we have got a break and four more games, so we have a great opportunity to push on towards the top four and get ready for Europe.

“We have been in this type of knockout rugby scenario before when we won the Challenge Cup.”

The 54-year-old Samoa great added: “I get enjoyment and satisfaction from seeing everyone doing their roles and being the best possible versions of themselves, that makes us the best version of a team, as the Bears.

“We have been guilty of not doing that and the key to getting out of a slump is focusing in on what our fundamentals are.

“The boys are reaping the fruit of their labour.”

Harlequins’ fifth defeat in six matches, which followed last week’s 40-5 thrashing of Exeter, has left their play-off hopes in the balance.

“To concede 50 points is demoralising,” said Harlequins coach Tabai Matson.

“It is going to be a pretty scathing review and it makes it even harder to make the top four.”

He added: “I have been reluctant to say this, but with four games to go now they are all must-win if we are going to make the play-offs.”

Leicester were left in third place after a 26-5 win away to Gloucester on Sunday while London Irish kept their play-off hopes alive with a 36-18 defeat of second-placed Sale.