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Page last updated at 11:05 GMT, Wednesday, 20 April 2011 12:05 UK

Tom Voyce and Gloucester on charge for second place


Away form now crucial - Voyce

Tom Voyce says there will be no holding back when Gloucester visit Saracens on Sunday in the race for a home semi-final in the Premiership play-offs.

Sarries are in the driving seat but the Cherry and Whites are on a run having drawn at leaders Leicester and beaten Northampton in the space of four days.

He told BBC Points West: "Saracens play great rugby. It's not going to be easy.

"But that's what you've got to do if you're going to win this competition. You've got to beat the best."

Saracens have a five-point advantage with two games remaining in the regular season and Voyce added the players would go "all out" at Vicarage Road, if nothing else to lay down a marker for a potential play-off re-match.

Present standings (20 games)
2. Saracens - 67 points
3. Gloucester - 62 points

Remaining fixtures
Sunday, 24 April
Saracens v Gloucester
Saturday, 7 May
Gloucester v Sale
Harlequins v Saracens
Play-off semi-finals are scheduled for the weekend 14/15 May

But the incentive to overhaul the gap is huge as it would bring a home semi-final at Kingsholm, where Gloucester have not lost in the league since October 2009.

Lock Dave Attwood highlighted the importance of the Kingsholm crowd following the win against Northampton, which featured a series of scrums deep in their territory late in the game and an eventual turnover to the hosts.

"The whole stadium erupts. That's so demoralising for an opposition team and it's such a big lift for you," Attwood told BBC Points West.

"Your head's still stuck in the scrum planted in mud and you can hear 18,000 people screaming, roaring and going mad and it's an amazing feeling. It really does make a difference."

The winning run stands at 18 Premiership games following the 27-15 victory against Saints, and Gloucester have won their last eight at home in all competitions.

Winger Voyce added: "It's the desire not to lose here. The fans come up and pay their money to watch us and we don't want to let them down.

Heart and Kingsholm key to win - Attwood

"We said to ourselves about 18 months ago that we never want to lose at home and that's something we strive for every time we play here and so far it has been going well.

"To get four points and give us a little bit of a gap to Northampton was fantastic. Maybe we could be in that top two, but first and foremost we've got to concentrate on Sunday and make sure we get another win there."

Gloucester need two more points to guarantee a play-off spot and will travel buoyed by a fine recent record against Saracens having lost just twice in the last 12 games between the sides.

Each of those defeats featured a losing bonus point, but it is a winning bonus point that is the order of the day in the hunt for that home semi-final.

"It's not out of the question," said Attwood. "We showed at the weekend whether we're at home or away we can put in a performance and even people at the top of the Premiership can be stung by some of our backs. It will be high octane and a good game to watch."

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