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Sale game a great chance to bounce back, says Gloucester’s Burns

Billy Burns wants Gloucester Rugby to right a few wrongs when they entertain Sale Sharks at Kingsholm in their Aviva Premiership Rugby clash on Saturday.

The Cherry & Whites suffered a last-gasp 16-14 loss at Newcastle Falcons last Friday, with Joel Hodgson’s penalty at the death snatching victory from the jaws of defeat for the hosts.

Gloucester are eighth in the division, and fly-half Burns said the team has picked themselves up and are gunning for a win against a Sharks side fresh from a 36-26 win over Worcester Warriors.

And the 22-year-old believes Gloucester will channel the frustration felt after Hodgson’s decisive kick into the clash with Sale.

“We were pretty frustrated after last weekend’s game,” said Burns. “We didn’t get our set piece working, which in turn affected our attacking game, so we want to get the ball moving a little bit more and show our attacking side.

“Defensively, we were pretty good for the majority of the game – if you look at Newcastle’s matches this year, they’ve been high scoring games, so there are a lot of positives defensively.

“I think we need to look after the ball and be more effective when we’ve got it – we need to put that into our game.

“Overall, we weren’t at our best, but we were seconds away from coming away with a good four points, so we’re bitterly disappointed.

“It’s made it a bit harder going for that top six finish, but we’ll lick our wounds and hopefully get a good positive result against Sale this week.

“This week is more about us – it doesn’t matter who we’re playing, we believe we can beat anyone at home on our day.

“Sale are coming off the back of a good win last week and they have some great players and play an attacking brand of rugby. It should be a good game to watch, for sure!”

Burns also said the appointment of South African Johan Ackermann as head coach is one that leaves him relishing the start of next season.

The former Springboks lock will take the reins at Kingsholm in time for the 2017/18 season after agreeing a move from the Emirates Lions in his homeland.

The 46-year-old was named South African Coach of the Year in 2014, 2015 and 2016, having secured promotion back to Super Rugby with Lions in 2013.

“What he’s done at Lions has been outstanding, and it’s a great prospect for us, I know he likes his attacking rugby, which is great for a player like myself,” added Burns.

“The main focus is on finishing the season strongly, but it’s an exciting appointment for the start of next year.

“We hoped that the season would have gone a little bit better than it has so far, there’s no one more disappointed than us players and coaches, so we’ll try to build week on week and right a few wrongs.

“And we’ve got a great opportunity against Sale this weekend in front of a packed Kingsholm to get the fans on side and come away with a good result.”

Tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final is on 27 May at Twickenham are now on sale. If you want to have an unforgettable day out at club rugby’s best Cup Final then click here for tickets.

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