Sharples: Finishing in the top four would be a ‘fairytale’ season

Gloucester Rugby stars Charlie Sharples, Ben Morgan and Billy Twelvetrees visited amateur club Longlevens as part of Aviva’s Grassroots Surprises campaign
©Aviva Premiership

The Gloucester winger has his sights on finishing in the play-off positions in the Aviva Premiership

Charlie Sharples believes it would be a ‘fairytale’ season if Gloucester were able to finish in the top four of the Aviva Premiership.

The Cherry and Whites dropped out of the play-off places following their draw against Wasps on Saturday, but they find themselves just two points adrift of Newcastle Falcons who beat Harlequins.

With Gloucester hosting the Falcons this Saturday, winger Sharples has his sights set on achieving a top four spot.

“We’d all love to be finishing in the top four,” Sharples said.

“We have definitely got the belief within the squad. We know how good we can be and for us, it is all about trying to nail that consistency which is something we have got better at this season.

“We have still got a huge amount to play for this season so we have got to keep plugging away and keep improving week after week.

“What a fairytale season it would be for us to get into the play-offs.”

Last weekend, Sharples scored his first try of the Premiership season in Gloucester’s 25-25 draw against Wasps at Kingsholm.

The 28 year-old admitted the side were frustrated following that result as they were on the verge of clinching a victory against the form side in the division.

Sharples, who was speaking to us from an Aviva ‘Grassroots Surprises’ event added: “We'd obviously had a disappointing result against Worcester and we lost our buffer between us and the teams below.

“We were sitting in fourth place so we knew it was going to be a massive game against Wasps and ultimately, it was a frustrating result for us. 

“Having come so close to getting a bonus-point and then having to settle for a draw was a difficult one to take.”

Despite the result against Wasps, Gloucester are on course for their best finish in the Aviva Premiership since 2013 which would signify a very positive first season in charge for coach Johan Ackerman.

At the beginning of the season, Ackerman arrived at Kingsholm following a successful spell with the Lions in Super Rugby and Sharples revealed that Gloucester have made great progress since the South African joined the club.

“Every time there have been wholesale changes at the club, there has always been a sense of optimism and as a player, you have to buy into that and get on board with it,” Sharples added.

“We were all excited about Johan coming in and I would say we have probably exceeded our own expectations so far.

“In the first part of the season, we didn’t actually set ourselves any targets because we wanted to develop our own brand of rugby so to then find ourselves in third place in the table around the mid-part of the season was beyond what we expected.

“The games against Worcester and Wasps highlight that we still have got a way to go to be the team we want to be and sustain ourselves in the top four.”

With six matches left in the domestic season, Gloucester begin March with a crucial fixture against Newcastle Falcons this weekend.

The Falcons will also be looking to enhance their top four ambitions when they travel to Kingsholm, but Sharples is confident Gloucester can clinch a vital result in the race for a play-off place.

He said: “Drawing last week certainly put the pressure on us. Newcastle will now be fancying their chances when they come down to Kingsholm because they will want to pursue their own top four aspirations.

“There is always pressure, but I’d say going into this weekend and then having a couple of weeks break, we will want to end on a high so getting a win this weekend is crucial for us.”

Gloucester Rugby stars Charlie Sharples, Billy Twelvetrees and Ben Morgan visited amateur club Longlevens Mixed Ability Rugby as part of Aviva’s Grassroots Surprises campaign to champion the inclusive and diverse nature of rugby.

The club also won £2,000 of Gilbert kit and equipment courtesy of Aviva, title sponsor of Aviva Premiership Rugby.’

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