Paul Gustard and the Saracens defensive Wolf Pack

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Post by maestegmafia on Wed 03 Apr 2013, 10:36 pm

Nice lighthearted article from the Guardian...




The use of motivational tools is nothing new in sport but Saracens could have been forgiven for taking to the hills when the defence coach, Paul Gustard, took their "wolf pack" philosophy a little too literally.

Gustard, who masterminded the reward system for Saracens players who make the most thumping tackles, brought a pair of wolves to a team meeting before the Premiership victory over Harlequins 10 days ago.

"There are not many normal meetings here," the fly-half Owen Farrell told the Daily Telegraph. "We talked about the power of the wolf and why we picked our defence to be a wolf pack then suddenly he [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 he said meant a lot. There is a reason why we call ourselves the wolf pack but to have the wolves there was a bit scary. They were on a leash but I think if that thing had wanted to eat me, it would have."

Gustard, who will be part of England's coaching team for the tour of Argentina this summer, rates players after each match for the number and physicality of tackles made, with three players nominated for the highly prized "wolf rating".

"I wanted to give a meaning behind it and a heartbeat and a soul. The wolf pack idea was something different and represented our mentality – we have to hunt, we have to get people and, when we get there, we have to be savage. It epitomises everything."

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Post by yappysnap on Wed 03 Apr 2013, 10:49 pm

Getting dangerously close to the bounty system that was outlawed in NFL a few seasons back.

Interesting theory though, I wonder what the top three players get as a reward?

It'll be interesting to see what he brings to the England team over the summer too as well.

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Post by MonkeyOwain12 on Wed 03 Apr 2013, 10:54 pm

They win articles of clothing emblazoned with "Raised by Wolves". A good friend of mine works as an analyst for Sarries...I may have such an article.

There's a board full of stats up at the training base...the players love it...a great bit of in house competition. I think it's a great bit of motivation...

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Post by Hound of Harrow on Wed 03 Apr 2013, 11:27 pm

Sounds something similar to the Ospreys's 'belt' that was awarded to their player of the week.

FFS just pull the jersey on, get out on the park, and play for your team.

mad

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 6:48 am

My team vote for man of the match, the lucky recipient has a pint to down or other drinking challenge as a reward. Bit of fun, It's just taking it further.

Getting dangerously close to the bounty system that was outlawed in NFL a few seasons back.

Not quite the cash bonuses for injuring opposition players that caused the bounty scandal Yappy. In house competition is good and keeps the players on their toes.

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Post by AsLongAsBut100ofUs on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 7:18 am

Call it what you like, but you won't convince me that Chris Ashton is a great defender

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Post by munkian on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 9:07 am

AsLongAsBut100ofUs wrote:Call it what you like, but you won't convince me that Chris Ashton is a great defender

He isn't exactly a great attacker at the moment either Wink
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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 9:39 am

An indication of just how important defence is to Sarries - they have made the most tackles in the AP this season after 19 rounds.


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Post by beshocked on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 10:02 am

LondonTiger wrote:An indication of just how important defence is to Sarries - they have made the most tackles in the AP this season after 19 rounds.


Indeed. Defence is very important.

1st and 2nd in the AP currently have the best defensive stats - least amount of points conceded and least tries conceded.

Personally I am not convinced by the fixation on the wolf. I don't think it fits with Saracens. I am talking more about the weird wolf mascot that has appeared at Saracens matches than the defence.

What has a wolf got to do with Saracens? I can understand wolf pack as a defence aspect but used as a marketing stunt to represent Saracens? No thanks.

I am of course a big Saracens fan but I didn't like the fat lady gimmick, I don't like the Stand up for Saracens song and I am not a particularly big fan of the wolf pack having such a big role in branding and marketing.

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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 10:06 am

Does the wolf pack mean the end of the Fez-heads?

2010 final I was fine with the Sarries song as every time you scored the two, young(ish) scantily clad females in front of us got up and danced to it. Oh and we won.

2011 it wound me up no end. This time the dancers were built like my gran (you know tucking their boobs into their socks). Oh and we lost.

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Post by beshocked on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 10:17 am

Londontiger I don't know. I hope not though I have a feeling it might be.

I like the "oh and we won, oh and we lost". Hug

What will you say if it's a Saracens-Leicester final in the AP - 2012-13 I wonder....?

We have new cheerleaders now - I think they are called the Angels.

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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 10:20 am

Oh these were just in the crowd Very Happy

The main cheerleaders were from memory from a "dancing" establsihment close to Watford. New ground new "dancing" establishment?


And yeah, winning or losing makes a huge differnece to the emotions.

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Post by AsLongAsBut100ofUs on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 10:21 am

beshocked wrote:Londontiger I don't know. I hope not though I have a feeling it might be.

I like the "oh and we won, oh and we lost". Hug

What will you say if it's a Saracens-Leicester final in the AP - 2012-13 I wonder....?

We have new cheerleaders now - I think they are called the Angels.
Pretty sure that the Angels will meet with LT's approval!

Am all for a bit of gimmicky over-the-top marketing, but I do wonder if Sarries are spreading the net too wide with the Fez heads, now this wolfie thingy, then the Angels, plus the Vikingesque fat lady - can't they just stick to the middle east/near east/crescent connections?

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Post by beshocked on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 10:26 am

Perhaps. Cheerleaders etc are just a gimmick at halftime. More interested in food,drink and what happened in the first half and what will happen in the 2nd half.

I don't enough enough the topic of the old cheerleaders vs new.

Next they'll probably have a troupe of people dressed up as wolves dancing.

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Post by rodders on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 10:31 am

Nick Williams eats Wolves for breakfast thumbsup
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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 10:39 am

rodders wrote:Nick Williams eats Wolves for breakfast thumbsup

I thought that buggered up his blood sugars and made him sleepy all day. With Afoa jet-lagged, can you afford any more "passengers" Wink

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Post by beshocked on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 10:42 am

AsLongAsBut100ofUs wrote:
beshocked wrote:Londontiger I don't know. I hope not though I have a feeling it might be.

I like the "oh and we won, oh and we lost". Hug

What will you say if it's a Saracens-Leicester final in the AP - 2012-13 I wonder....?

We have new cheerleaders now - I think they are called the Angels.
Pretty sure that the Angels will meet with LT's approval!

Am all for a bit of gimmicky over-the-top marketing, but I do wonder if Sarries are spreading the net too wide with the Fez heads, now this wolfie thingy, then the Angels, plus the Vikingesque fat lady - can't they just stick to the middle east/near east/crescent connections?

Fez Heads have been around for a while.http://www.fezboys.co.uk/who.html

Though looks like they want to be known as Fezboys.

Not a big fan of the wolf thing either. Fat lady is a very silly gimmick.

Even though for example the Saracens tabard is a pretty divisive issue as well as least it points to the link of Saracens/Crusaders. Plus as a branding tool it makes a huge impact.

Also I really like a lot of the recent Saracens flags designs.

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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 11:02 am

Should go back to the Saffacens scarves Run

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Post by beshocked on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 11:05 am

Londontiger do you mean the one that was for the Saracens vs South Africa game? Pretty sure that was an one off.

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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 11:33 am

sorry could not resist the chance for a cheap jibe based on antiquated stereotypes.

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Post by yappysnap on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 11:39 am

I guess Ashton and Strettle don't top the list too often, perhaps they have their own competition to see who can break in to double figures for tackles completed across the season...

Oh and that T-Shirt sounds god awful!

If i'd just put my body on the line and made the most tackles of the game i'd want more then a T-shirt!

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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 11:52 am

yappysnap wrote:I guess Ashton and Strettle don't top the list too often, perhaps they have their own competition to see who can break in to double figures for tackles completed across the season...

Ooh you meanie. Strettle is almost up to 50 completed tackles in the AP this season. Amongst the teams in the play-off fight, only Monye has more completed tackles as a winger.

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Post by mawhis on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 11:57 am

yappysnap wrote:Getting dangerously close to the bounty system that was outlawed in NFL a few seasons back.

Interesting theory though, I wonder what the top three players get as a reward?

It'll be interesting to see what he brings to the England team over the summer too as well.

My first thought was that it sounded alot like Bountygate as well. The defensive Co-ordinator who created it was suspended indefinitely, and the Head Coach for for one season, so Gustard and McCall might want to be careful how this is interpreted.

I wonder whether these "Rewards" fall under the salary cap? Whistle

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Post by beshocked on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 12:02 pm

Yappysnap Ashton has similar tackling stats to T.Williams in the AP so you shouldn't laugh too much. Per carry Ashton makes far more metres too.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 12:39 pm

AsLongAsBut100ofUs wrote:Call it what you like, but you won't convince me that Chris Ashton is a great defender

More poodle than wolf.....

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Post by yappysnap on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 1:18 pm

beshocked wrote:Yappysnap Ashton has similar tackling stats to T.Williams in the AP so you shouldn't laugh too much. Per carry Ashton makes far more metres too.

You realise you're comparing an International who's probably on far higher wages to a good club player right?

That just doesn't make any sense...

Oh and Tom has 9 tries this season, Ashton has 4 Whistle

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Post by beshocked on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 1:53 pm

yappysnap wrote:
beshocked wrote:Yappysnap Ashton has similar tackling stats to T.Williams in the AP so you shouldn't laugh too much. Per carry Ashton makes far more metres too.

You realise you're comparing an International who's probably on far higher wages to a good club player right?

That just doesn't make any sense...

Oh and Tom has 9 tries this season, Ashton has 4 Whistle

Where do your 9 tries come from?

2 in the HC vs the god like Connacht, 4 tries in the AP.

That's 6.

4 in the AP and 3 in the HC for Ashton.

That's 7.

Also Ashton has played less matches at club level.

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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 2:12 pm

LV cup?

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Post by beshocked on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 2:16 pm

LondonTiger wrote:LV cup?

I discounted that because A) it's not a very important competition, B) 1st team squad players don't generally take part

Plus it's only fair to compare like for like surely? E.g. number of tries scored in the HC and AP. Can't compare try record at international level either.

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Post by yappysnap on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 2:23 pm

To be fair to Connacht they did beat the current AP Champions, they and beat Biarritz, something another London club failed to do last season...

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Post by beshocked on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 2:31 pm

yappysnap wrote:To be fair to Connacht they did beat the current AP Champions, they and beat Biarritz, something another London club failed to do last season...

Who is this other London club who failed to beat Biarritz?

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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 2:39 pm

I declare this contest a draw.

For we have otherwise lost the will to live.

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Post by yappysnap on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 2:40 pm

I can see you're confusion, they weren't actually based in London until after that game.


Here's a match report if it helps though...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-union/15725575

Whistle

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Post by yappysnap on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 2:44 pm

LondonTiger wrote:I declare this contest a draw.

For we have otherwise lost the will to live.

Sorry!

Went off at a tangent there a little Rolling Eyes

Back to Gustard and Sarries defence, if he can bring that to the England set up i'll be impressed. One of the biggest issues for us over the 6N's was a poor first up defence and then a lazy scramble defence (especially in the final couple of games).

The Puma's showed in the RC that they've come on a lot with their back play and could easily turn us over if we aren't sharp in defense, and we know that they'll be super physical themselves.

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Post by beshocked on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 3:08 pm

yappysnap wrote:I can see you're confusion, they weren't actually based in London until after that game.


Here's a match report if it helps though...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-union/15725575

Whistle

I always thought there were two pool matches in the HC against each team. My confusion is that Saracens still topped the pool and helped knock Biarritz out of the HC again - by beating them.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-union/16488364

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Post by yappysnap on Thu 04 Apr 2013, 9:19 pm

beshocked wrote:
yappysnap wrote:I can see you're confusion, they weren't actually based in London until after that game.


Here's a match report if it helps though...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-union/15725575

Whistle

I always thought there were two pool matches in the HC against each team. My confusion is that Saracens still topped the pool and helped knock Biarritz out of the HC again - by beating them.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-union/16488364

Shhhh we're not discussing Saracens issues with Biarritz anymore, LT has told us to behave.

Do you think Gustard will have a big influence on England? Are you worried that after this a lot of opposition players may know a lot more about your defensive training and systems.

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Post by beshocked on Fri 05 Apr 2013, 9:05 am

Yappysnap sure. It's because you're wrong.

In regards to Gustard - I think he'll do a good job. I don't expect him to dramatically change the defence because Farrell Sr is an ex colleague of his.

If Gustard is allowed to work with the forwards like he does with Saracens (he has a dual role as defence/forward coach) then he could make a difference.

If opposition players don't know about Saracens' defensive training and systems by now then they aren't being very observant.

You would think they would know about the defensive patterns with Farrell Sr being in charge of the defence.

It's coaches' jobs to analyse the opposition. You would expect them to pass this feedback onto the players.

Plus surely sides should constantly adapt. Stand still and you are in danger of being left behind.

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