Charlie Sharples aware of ”Partisan crowd” at Thomond Park ahead of their first major challenge in the Champions Cup. Fresh from drawing against Exeter Munster will be keen to get their first win on the board.
Savage pleased to be back
Tom Savage played his first competitive game since picking up a knee injury against Ulster in pre-season. ”It’s great to be back in the side, I had a disappointing start to the season picking up an injury in pre-season, but 80 minutes at the weekend and I’m back in it. The weather helped me, it was a lot slower and it saved the legs.”
Confidence running high
Johan Ackermann and his assistants have made sure that the players preparation has been as good as it can be. Savage commented on how the team have been doing so much reviewing and previewing. ‘We’ve had a really good build up, we came in Monday and did our review and got stuck into work today. We’re really looking forward to the challenge. They’re a formidable pack, they’ve got internationals throughout and scrum and maul wise they are a good side and we’re going to have to front up and compete up front.
They’re an imposing side who are good at the breakdown so we’re going to have to be accurate there and not let them have a chance to get over the ball. You need to soak the atmosphere up and enjoy it, it’s one of the hardest places to go in the comp. we’re looking forward to the challenge.
The only other time I’ve been there is for a pre-season fixture so I’m sure it’ll have a different feel this weekend.”
Cutting down errors keep to picking up away wins
Aided by the weather, there were too many mistakes in the Castres game, especially in the second half. Savage told how cutting these down will be crucial if they are to pick up points on the road. ”It’s crucial. The lower your penalty and error count can be it allows you to get a foothold in the game. Less pressure you can put yourself under the better and those things apply pressure on to you.”
Sharples not worried about conditions
Despite forecasts leaning towards another weekend of torrid weather Charlie Sharples is keen to not overlook the direct threat of Munster. ”Munster have enough worries to trouble us without worrying about the weather. As a squad we’ve got to be excited about the challenge of playing one of Europe’s big stadium’s against one of the most famous teams. I remember what the experience was like with the singing and the atmosphere.
All the focus is going over there this weekend, putting in a good performance and getting a win.”
Gloucester ready for a tough Thomond battle
Having played in their last outing, and scoring in it, Sharples said ”We’re one game in so we can’t be getting ahead of ourselves, we know as a team the direction we’re heading in. We’re nowhere near reach our potential as a squad, but the only way we will start scratching into that is to go to places like this and get the wins.
We’ve got the armoury and ability to go over there and cause them problems, we’ve just got to make sure we’re up to the task.”
Pleasing form a good sign of teamwork
”I can’t remember where I had quite so many tries early on.
As much as I hate to admit it, I probably owe him [Danny Cipriani] for a couple of them. I’ve been a beneficiary of someone like that, but our whole attack is working well. When it’s been on point it’s caused problems for tries and we’ve had the ability to score tries.
A lot of it is running support lines and relying on people to make the break, players putting you into space and 1 on 1 opportunities. That’s how I’ve been scoring my tries this season.
I’m not going to change the way I play and I haven’t changed the way I play.”
Despite a good scoring run of eight tries Sharples hasn’t yet made any aims in terms of scoring this season. ”You just want to score as many tries as possible, after last year I’m enjoying a good run of games. When you don’t quite get the run of games you wanted you realise how hard it is.
I’m just going to make sure I’m enjoying it and working hard off the ball and working hard for the team and hopefully I’ll have a few more tries before the end of the season.”
Cipriani key in Gloucester attack
Danny Cipriani has been superb for the Cherry and Whites this season notching up some beautiful highlight reel footage along the way. Sharples said ”We’ve always had good fly halves at the club, but Danny brings something a bit different. He’s hugely experienced and played at a top level for a long time and played international level at a young age.
He’s very good at putting people into space and as long as we’re all running our structure and keeping our shape, he operates that. He’s certainly been a positive influence to the team and we’re working hard as a unit to keep pushing that forward and keep pushing the boundaries.
I’d like to think I’m a better player now, I’m a much more well rounded player. I’m just the beneficiary of some really good attack. There’s still areas of my game that I’m trying to improve and it’s a constant challenge where you’re trying to improve week on week.
Sharples aware of ”Partisan” crowd
Having played at Thomond Park before has made Charlie Sharples aware of ”Partisan crowd” saying ”I think you just have to enjoy it. It’s an imposing place to play and it’ll be a big challenge, but these are the games that you have to treasure and relish playing in that environment. We’ve worked so hard to get champions cup rugby and we have to enjoy playing on this big stage. We all know what the challenge is like and we all know what’s facing us we just have to make sure we’re on it on the day.
I remember the singing. It was a loud and partisan crowd.”
Gloucester not looked back
Despite Sharples possibly holding some wisdom on the atmosphere and occasion of playing against Munster in Thomond Park he hasn’t yet passed any information down to the younger players in the team. ”I’d be more than happy to, but we haven’t really touched on it too much. We’ve got plenty of experienced guys in the squad and the younger guys have played in big games.”
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