Saracens hoping Sean Dyche talk will boost Champions Cup hopes
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 11/01/19 10:27pm
Saracens are hoping some tips from Burnley manager Sean Dyche will aid their push for a place in this season's Champions Cup quarter-finals.
Back-to-back away defeats have dealt a blow to Saracens' Premiership ambitions and director of rugby Mark McCall brought in Dyche, who has turned around Burnley's Premier League fortunes with successive wins over West Ham and Huddersfield, during their preparations for Sunday's Pool Three clash against Lyon.
"We went up with the coaches and saw him in the last Prem Cup break and he was brilliant for us," said McCall.
"And we thought the squad would be entertained by him and learn from him as well.
"He was outstanding. He talked about a couple of things, which are really important for us with how we have been the last couple of weeks.
"He talked about the feeling that is back at Burnley after quite a tough old season for them.
"They are back to how they felt last year, in terms of around the club, and I think that is important for us. To remember what has made us successful in the past and not steering too far away from it."
Dyche is not the first man from outside the sport to get a call from the inventive McCall, who has in the past brought in champion jockey AP McCoy and political adviser Alastair Campbell to address his squad.
"We had a Gaelic football manager in from Donegal called Jim McGuinness, who was as interesting as anybody," said McCall. "He was phenomenal.
"It is good now and then to bring someone in from outside of rugby to talk to our players and coaches."
McCall's unusual tactics have received a ringing endorsement from England international Billy Vunipola, who said of Dyche's talk: "I liked how down to earth he was.
"A lot of what he held close to his chest were what we hold as our core values as well.
"It was amazing to see someone in his position in the Premier League being so open and honest with a forum like we did. A lot of what he said was gold.
"I thought what he said hit the nail on the head. He said a lot of it is just down to hard work. When he came into the job he promised the fans they would see sweat on the shirt.
"As a rugby player, it excites you because you know this guy will give you his best and he expects the same as you.
"Something we hold in high regard is work-rate and, as soon as he said that, it hit the spot with me.
"You see it with Burnley. When they are on it, teams don't know what to do and that is down to desire.
"I have seen a few of their games and you don't know who the players are but they are whizzing around just smashing it."