Saracens turn to Burnley boss Sean Dyche to help rediscover winning habit
Saracens have turned to Burnley boss Sean Dyche to help them avoid another mid-season slump.
The English champions are in France where they need victory at Lyon in the Champions Cup tomorrow to avoid a hat-trick of away defeats.
England star Richard Wigglesworth insists there is no chance of a repeat of 12 months ago when the north Londoners endured their worst losing run for 15 years before recovering spectacularly to win the Premiership.
But the club is taking no chances and this week responded to successive losses at Exeter and Sale by inviting Dyche to address the squad.
Sarries boss Mark McCall revealed: “Sean talked about things which are really important for us with how we have been the last couple of weeks; about remembering what made us successful in the past and not steering too far away from it.
“He admitted that last year Burnley over-achieved and said he felt that with a little bit of success, sometimes, some players - even marginally - can do things they weren't doing and take little shortcuts and get distracted by small things.
“Those small things can then have quite a big impact on a team. It was a good reminder for us to make sure we are not taking those shortcuts.”
Burnley, who finished seventh and qualified for Europe last season, have rallied after a dreadful start to this campaign to win three in a row in all competitions.
Few expect Sarries’ mini slump to continue, given that they boast one of only three 100 per cent records in Europe’s top competition and lie second in the Premiership.
But Wigglesworth admitted: “It is no secret we are searching for our best. We weren’t happy on our winning run so we certainly aren’t going to be after a couple of losses.
“What Sean referred to is subliminal. You don’t know you’re doing it. What I do know is that standards across the board are improving, so we also need to get better.”
McCall agreed: “We are not getting things our own way, the way we used to. So we have to fight for everything.”
He has identified that Saracens need to improve their emotional response to adversity.
“That has been a massive strength of ours down the years but I don't think as a group we are handling small or large setbacks as well as we can,” he said. “Our rugby flows from how we feel.”
Maro Itoje’s return to fitness provides a timely boost and Billy Vunipola will be better for his first 80 minutes in three months last week.