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James Hook backs Gloucester Rugby for top four charge

James Hook says Gloucester Rugby are focused on a first top four Aviva Premiership Rugby finish since 2011, but know they must continue their excellent form against rivals Worcester Warriors if they are to stand a chance.

David Humphreys’ side have won four of their last five since a narrow West Country derby victory against Bath Rugby, and turned over Dai Young’s red-hot Wasps at Kingsholm last weekend.

That victory moved them into sixth place in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table, just five points behind fourth-placed Wasps, and they now travel to Worcester Warriors with Dean Ryan’s side looking for a second consecutive home win.

And Hook insists that despite their lofty ambitions, Gloucester know they cannot afford to slip up at Sixways against players like Kiwi flyer Bryce Heem and South Africa scrum-half Francois Hougaard.   

“Top four has got to be the target, if you look at how tight the table is, a couple of wins and you’re right up there,” the versatile back said.  

“We are going to take it week by week, if you take your eyes off the ball in this league you find yourself dropping down the table.

“Worcester are a good team, I am surprised they have lost as many games as they have. They are well-coached, they have quality players and we are expecting a really tough test down there.”

As for the Wasps victory, Gloucester emerged from an immensely physical encounter with their defence superb throughout and it is the work of assistant coach Jonny Bell which Hook credits with turning things around for the Cherry and Whites.

And despite what could prove to be a landmark win, Hook said the jubilation will be short-lived if they fail to turn up at Sixways.

He said: “It was a great game, there was a lot of sore bodies coming in on Monday, it was a huge effort by the boys.

“We need to try and back it up this week in another tough test away from home.

“Since Jonny Bell has come in he has really turned our defence around. We really enjoy defending, which is important.

“I think if we can keep up the sort of performance we did against Wasps last week, we should be alright.

"I think you can see week-by-week that it is improving all the time and there is always stuff to improve, we will keep improving, but as long as we take those small steps we will be alright.”

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