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We must raise game against teams around us, says Gloucester Rugby’s Sharples

Charlie Sharples believes Gloucester Rugby need to beat sides in and around them to secure their place in the into the top-six of Aviva Premiership Rugby.

The Cherry & Whites were beaten by Wasps last weekend, despite being in the game for much of the encounter.

Gloucester scored tries through James Hook, David Halaifonua and Max Scott before Wasps came from behind with efforts from Willie Le Roux, Christian Wade and a Jimmy Gopperth hat-trick helping the hosts to a 35-22 win.

Sharples revealed his side were deflated after the defeat at the Ricoh Arena, given that they may have kicked on and secured victory on another afternoon.

“If you let a quality team like Wasps back in the game, they punish you,” said the 27-year-old wing.

“We were disappointed because we’d got into a position where we were ahead – we could have increased our lead and we didn’t make Wasps work hard enough to get back into the game.

“What could have been a monumental victory for us at the Ricoh ended up being a disappointing loss.

“I thought we moved the ball around well and some of our attack was clinical. There are a lot of things that are going well in our game at the minute, and some things that have been good for us that let us down at the weekend.”

Gloucester turned over Saracens 31-23 at the Kingsholm Stadium last month, but Sharples believes his side need to pick up points against teams jockeying with the Cherry & Whites for the all-important sixth spot in the league.

David Humphreys’ side are ninth in Aviva Premiership Rugby with 34 points from 16 matches, just five behind Northampton Saints in sixth.

Harlequins are seventh with 37 points, with Newcastle eighth on 36 in what has become a four-way scrap for sixth.

Gloucester host Harlequins on Saturday afternoon, with Sharples eager for his side to get back to winning ways, and dent their opponents’ push for the top six.

“We’ll try and get a complete performance against Harlequins at the weekend,” he said.

“It’s going to be a tough game, it always is against them. Every time we’ve played them in the last couple of years, it’s been pretty close.

“We’re both in that mid-to-bottom third of the table fighting for the sixth place, so points are going to be crucial for either team.

“We’re certainly fighting for everything we can get at the minute, especially if we want to get that sixth finish, and I’m sure they will be as well.

“We’ve got a tremendous amount of belief in our squad – we have had a huge amount of games where we’ve lost by a score.

“But the way the table is, if a couple of those games had gone our way, we’d be sitting in that top half of the table now.

“We know we can compete with the top sides, we’ve beaten Saracens and Wasps at home, but it’s all very well playing against the best teams, we need to be playing well against the teams around us who we’re in direct competition with.”

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