Gloucester Rugby: Sarries would be a 'massive scalp'
TUNNEL vision can keep Gloucester on top-four track as they battle to cement their impressive Premiership start, believes Charlie Sharples.
The Cherry and Whites speed king believes Gloucester's growing ability to shut out anything extraneous is proving vital to their early-season success.
Gloucester rejected any involvement in the Bryan Redpath sideshow on Saturday, sweeping to clinical 29-3 victory over Sale Sharks.
Now Nigel Davies' men take on Saracens at Watford's Vicarage Road on Sunday (kick-off 3pm), where a win would sneak them above the 2011 champions in the Premiership table.
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But just as Gloucester shrugged off outside influences last week, so the Cherry and Whites will set aside any thoughts of leapfrogging Saracens this time out.
Instead the 22-year-old wing insists the Kingsholm men will maintain their methodical, calculating approach.
Sharples explained: "We didn't let any external factors get in the way of that game.
"There was no talk of redemption or revenge, or whatever.
"We just went out there, did the job, and got the points.
"We're a team that's high on confidence and belief, we've had some good results so far this season and obviously that buoys you up.
"As long as we keep winning we'll keep that momentum going.
"The pack was so dominant in the scrum that relieved a lot of pressure all-round against Sale.
"And the challenge now is to raise the level again, to take on Saracens who are clearly one of the best sides around.
"That would be a massive scalp for us.
"There's a lot riding on the game points-wise, but all we can do is harness that momentum I've talked about, and try to get a result – we've got to forget that league scenario again, and just concentrate on what's thrown in front of us on the day.
"There's a lot of belief in the team, and that comes through when our backs are against the wall, and we've got to dig in and grind out a win."
Gloucester's collective professionalism is clearly filtering through to individual situations too.
Sharples admitted getting 'the chop' from England's squad to face South Africa was tough – but said returning to Kingsholm was the best way to ease those frustrations.
He continued: "As soon as I got the chop from England I was just looking forward to getting back to the club, getting back into the mix and getting on with things.
"Obviously it was disappointing to miss out for England, but I didn't dwell on it, I just got my head down at the club.
"It's a double-edged sword, you're not happy to miss out on England, but you're always happy to come back to Kingsholm and Gloucester.
"It's not about coming back, trying too hard and trying to produce something special on your own, it's about doing the bits and bobs that got you there in the first place.
"The team has to come first, and to be honest you shouldn't force things anyway – if you try too hard almost, then you won't end up playing well in any case."