Sharples disappointed to lose as Gustard praises ugly rugby

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LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 01: Paul Gustard of Harlequins during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Harlequins and Sale Sharks at Twickenham Stoop on September 1, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

Despite scoring a brace of tries, a home loss has left Gloucester winger Charlie Sharples disappointed whilst Harlequins boss Paul Gustard praises his side in their ability to win a game in an ugly fashion. 

Great individual performance, but team lets it down

A brace of tries from winger Sharples gave Gloucester a huge opportunity to win the match, but they couldn’t follow it home to the end. ” We’re very disappointed in that result, our first loss at home this season. It’s never nice losing at Kingsholm and it’s always difficult to lose in that manner, but we’ve got to stick together now as a team and make sure we bounce back next week with some massive games coming up.

We weren’t clinical enough or accurate enough and when we did get ahead we needed to protect the lead better. We defended brilliantly to keep them from scoring in phases in that second half, but conceded penalties and allowed them to get back in the game.

We’ve got to learn from our mistakes and look after the ball better. We have to apply pressure on teams as we let them off the hook too easily by coughing the ball up.”

Second half struggles to get going as Gloucester disappointed with loss

Gloucester went into the half the better team, but came out struggling to compete or put any phases together. Sharples said: ”We couldn’t get any prolonged periods of pressure in the second half, it always felt like we were under the cosh a little bit and when we did get the ball we couldn’t go through the phases and play our game. When we did we scored from it. 

We wanted to go for the bonus point win, it’s where we need to learn to close games out and go through the phases. Maybe try and get the penalty or be in a position for the drop goal.

You have split seconds to make a decision in rugby and it’s always easy to analyse it afterwards, but that’s where we improve, by looking at what we could do better.”  

Gustard masterminds the ”Gamechangers”

A tactical change of the front three with around 10 minutes to go ended up becoming the best coaching decision of the game. Ultimately winning them the game.  ”It’s my call, Joe (Marler), Kyle Sinckler and Max (Crumpton) gave us a great 65 and we felt we needed to make a change. They had an unbelievable scrum penalty and even in the last scrum we got on top of them and took away the platform for Ben Morgan to pick and go.”

On winning ugly Gustard said:

”Rugby’s not perfect. I’ve looked at some of the scores today. The landscape of rugby is changing and everyone’s attacking, being more bold. You’re seeing bonus point losing scores and bonus points wins more often because teams are under more pressure.”

”We played some good rugby (First half), defended unbelievably well and were happy, confident and our lineout was working. They got their maul working and we got caught offside and the man in the bin cost us another score. 

The pleasing thing which has been a hallmark of our season to date was the tenacity and resilience to get some points before half time and go in 18-15 and I thought we started the second half really well.

We’ve got something from every game. We’ve got six points away from home, we’re a fighting team. Sometimes our attack is toothless, but we’re making steps in the right direction.” 

He wasn’t all pleased with the game and was disappointed in the manner in which they let in some tries. ” The third try we were disappointed with how we defended inside of Mike (Brown), but it’s Kingsholm, its going to be a battle and we were up for it today.”

Having worked with Nathan Earle at Saracens Gustard knows him very well saying, ”He’s a great player, Saracens loss is definitely our gain. He’s been one of our most consistent performers and his work rate off the ball is much improved from where he was four-five years ago.”

He was also full of praise for returning lock James Horwill. ”He’s massive.” Speaking about the return of him and joining up with Robshaw, Gustard said, ”Their effort to lead the team in the week like they did and for him to not have played since April was phenomenal.”

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