LONDON Irish assistant coach George Skivington admits his side face a 'real challenge' when they return to Gallagher Premiership action at Bristol Bears on Sunday (3pm).

Exiles go into the game on the back of a seven-try 45-31 European Challenge Cup success against Bayonne last Saturday, and also thrashed Leicester Tigers in their previous league game.

However, Bristol have also impressed with three wins from their opening four Premiership fixtures, including a hugely impressive 20-17 success at Exeter last time out.

With big name stars including Charles and Siale Piutau, Nathan Hughes and Ian Madigan among their ranks, Skivington is expecting a tough test.

He admitted: "I thought Bristol would be good this year and they've definitely proved that.

"We've watched their last few games and they've shown they're a very hard team to pick apart and find weaknesses in.

"They've put their team together sensibly and they've got some real firepower and some real class players.

"They've got a real structure to their game and it's going to be a real challenge for us."

Meanwhile, second row Ruan Botha added: “It is going to be a hard encounter; they are currently top of the table so we know how difficult the game will be.

"For us its important to go there as best prepared as we can and put in a performance that we can be proud of, stick to our processes and do what we need to do to get a result on the field.”