Saracens have taken their use of innovations in their pursuit of a Heineken Cup and Aviva Premiership double to new extremes by bringing in a pair of wolves to a team meeting to illuminate their “wolf pack” defensive philosophy.
Photo: MATTHEW IMPEY
02 Apr 2013
The use of the wild animals before Saracens’ Premiership victory over Harlequins 10 days ago was the brainchild of defence coach Paul Gustard, who masterminded the reward system for players who make the most dominant and impactful tackles.
The meeting, which was held a week before Saracens spent three days on a club bonding session at the Swiss ski resort of Verbier, where they went tobogganing, paragliding and skiing, left a lasting impression on England fly-half Owen Farrell. “There are not many normal meetings here,” Farrell said after a training session for Saturday’s Heineken Cup quarter-final against Ulster at Twickenham.
“We talked about the power of the wolf and why we picked our defence to be a wolf pack then suddenly Gussie [Gustard] brought two wolves in! They are pretty fierce animals and I was a bit on edge. Maybe I shouldn’t have picked to sit in the front row that day. The words that Guzzy said meant a lot. There is a reason why we call ourselves the wolf pack but to actually have the wolves there was a bit scary, so I couldn’t really relax"