Danny Cipriani has told Gloucester they must ‘dare to dream’ ahead of their first play-off semi-final for eight years.
The Cherry and Whites go to champions Saracens on Saturday for a re-run of their last post-season appearance back in 2011.
And Cipriani, fresh from being voted Player of the Year by his fellow professionals, insists their campaign does not have to end there.
“You have to dare to dream,” said the England fly-half. “It’s important we are all on the same page going forward, believing that.
“We’re up against the best team in Europe, it’s going to be difficult, but it’s about preparing to the best of our abilities.”
Gloucester beat Saracens at Kingsholm during the Six Nations, but were swept aside by a full-strength Sarries at Allianz Park in the autumn.
All eyes will be on Cipriani, who is shortlisted for Premiership Player of the Season on Wednesday, and his head-to-head with Red Rose rival Owen Farrell.
“I think there’s always more to come,” Cipriani said, when asked if he had reached his peak. “Energy-wise I feel great and I’m constantly learning as a fly-half about how I can lead the team and draw best reactions out of people.
“It’s been a difficult, challenging season, probably the most competitive Premiership season of all time. But we’ve always had our head just above the parapet, chasing Sarries and Exeter.”
Both Saracens and Gloucester were beaten on Saturday as they rested front-line players ahead of this weekend’s showdown.
A week after their Champions Cup final triumph, the Londoners went down 31-29 to a last-gasp Duncan Weir penalty at Worcester.
A Gloucester side without Cipriani pulling the strings, lost 46-41 at Sale but welcomed the return from injury of winger Ollie Thorley.
Johan Ackerman told of his pride at his young team scoring six tries away from home, even if Steve Diamond’s Sharks went one better.
"They never let us down and were in the match the whole time,” he said. “We maybe could have won it at the end but it was not about the result. It was about the effort, heart and commitment so I am proud of the performance.”
Five days from now it will be all about the result and Saracens must make do without Mako Vunipola who has undergone surgery on his torn hamstring.
The prop faces a race against time to be fit for the World Cup, leaving England with a problem which many believe Joe Marler could solve.
Harlequins last night vowed to support Marler if he chooses to reverse his decision to retire from international rugby.
"Everyone keeps asking Joe if he will go back,” said boss Paul Gustard. "And Joe keeps giving the same answer: 'No. But never say never.'
"If Joe wants to play for England again and Eddie wants him then of course we would support that.”
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