Gloucester Rugby: Freddie Burns: We deserved more, but had ourselves to blame
FREDDIE Burns has challenged Gloucester to keep their Premiership play-off chances in their own hands.
The fit-again fly-half believes the Cherry and Whites must shake off their plucky losers tag – and fast.
The Kingsholm men have five more league clashes to clamber back into the Premiership top-four.
After Friday's 31-25 defeat at Bath, 22-year-old Burns has now told Gloucester they can ill afford any more setbacks if they want to realise their play-off dream.
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Burns is frustrated by Gloucester's slender defeats at Wasps and his hometown club Bath and admits Nigel Davies' side must not accept any more bullish performances that end without full reward.
Gloucester still have league clashes against London Welsh, Harlequins, Sale Sharks, Saracens and Exeter Chiefs to come.
And Burns knows Gloucester will probably need four wins to secure a league semi-final.
He explained: "Eleven points from our last four games is a good return, but you could argue we should have had more.
"We can look at ourselves and say we should have won at Bath and Wasps, but then that's more chances missed and we're running out of opportunities.
"We really can't afford any more situations like that.
"Feeling like we deserved to have won is all well and good, but we can't let that continue.
"It will go right down to the wire, so we know we've got to pull out our best game now.
"A top-four finish is still in our hands and that's good news, but now we've got to keep it that way.
"For 14 men to come back and have opportunities to win it like we did at Bath after Darren Dawidiuk's sending-off speaks volumes about our spirit as a group.
"But we do need to start converting some of these bonus points to wins."
Burns impressed with ball in hand on Friday night, in his first action for six weeks after knee ligament trouble.
He struggled with his goal-kicking, though, missing four from five attempts, and conceded he will spend some extra time on that craft this week.
Owen Farrell's thigh injury concern opens up the possibility Burns could be fast-tracked back into England action against Italy on Sunday.
If Saracens playmaker Farrell fails to recover in time for this weekend's Six Nations action Burns could find himself on England's bench.
Toby Flood is in line to start should Farrell miss out, while Billy Twelvetrees should get a start in the centres, with Stuart Lancaster keen to try Manu Tuilagi on the wing.
Burns added: "I'll get back training with the squad and we'll just have to see.
"I'll need to sharpen up the goal-kicking radar and hopefully I'll be in the mix.
"I'll train with the boys today and tomorrow and see what happens.
"It's tough to come straight back in after six weeks out into a West Country derby.
"But I loved it, and the knee feels good.
"The knee felt fine, it was great to get the ball back in my hands.
"My lungs and calves went towards the end on Friday, so that was expected.
"After six weeks I'm happy with how I went and I'll get my head down and work hard now to keep improving my fitness."
â Lua Lokotui has been cited for his part in the tackle on Dave Attwood that saw Darren Dawidiuk sent off in Friday night's West Country derby defeat/
The Gloucester lock will join Dawidiuk in a disciplinary hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice on Monday, March 11.
Hooker Dawidiuk was red carded for an alleged tip tackle on ex-Gloucester lock Attwood, in Gloucester's 31-25 defeat at The Recreation Ground on Friday. Tongan second row Lokotui has now been cited for his part in the same challenge.