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Paul Gustard fires up Harlequins side using the bear necessities as 6ft 3in animal appears in the dressing room

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 14/08/2018 Danny Gallagher
GUILDFORD, ENGLAND - AUGUST 08:  Head Coach Paul Gustard shouts directions and orders during the Harlequins Pre-Season Training Session at Surrey Sports Park on August 8, 2018 in Guildford, England.  (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images for Harlequins FC) © Getty GUILDFORD, ENGLAND - AUGUST 08: Head Coach Paul Gustard shouts directions and orders during the Harlequins Pre-Season Training Session at Surrey Sports Park on August 8, 2018 in Guildford, England. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images for Harlequins FC)

New Harlequins chief Paul Gustard is looking to add extra bite to his defence - by putting a 6ft 3in brown bear in the team room.

The former England assistant, famed for his off-the-wall strategies, was heralded for his ‘wolf-pack’ style defence when at Saracens, based on hunting down attackers in groups.

To hammer home the point, he once took real wolves to training, and now his latest motivational tool has been revealed.

GUILDFORD, ENGLAND - JULY 19: The Harlequins Head of Rugby, Paul Gustard looks on during a Harlequins training session at Surrey Sports Park on July 19, 2018 in Guildford, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images) © Getty GUILDFORD, ENGLAND - JULY 19: The Harlequins Head of Rugby, Paul Gustard looks on during a Harlequins training session at Surrey Sports Park on July 19, 2018 in Guildford, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

‘There is a massive bear in our team room,’ said fly-half Demetri Catrakilis. ‘It looks real - but it hasn’t moved yet! That is going to be the basis of how we defend, to be like bears.

‘There was a curtain over something in the corner. I was wondering, “What the hell is this?” I was waiting for someone to come out of the back . . . I don’t know if it is real, it might be!

‘It is nice to use as an analogy, to think of yourself as a superior animal, so that is what he has chosen. Bears are so dominant. We want to be dominant ourselves, we want to make sure we are going forwards and they are going backwards.’

On Saturday Harlequins beat Jersey 33-14 in a pre-season friendly clash © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited On Saturday Harlequins beat Jersey 33-14 in a pre-season friendly clash

Harlequins’ defence was more teddy bear than grizzly last season. They conceded an average of 22 points a match — and 78 tries over the 22-match Premiership campaign, better only than London Irish (85) and Northampton (80).

Catrakilis said Gustard is the man to turn things around. ‘He has brought a lot of good defensive systems to our game, which is what we needed,’ added the South African.

It is not Gustard’s only change. On Saturday Quins beat Jersey 33-14 in a pre-season friendly, and the eight substitutes on the team sheet were listed as ‘game changers’.

a person that is standing in the grass: Known for his off-the-wall strategies, Gustard has put a 6ft 3in brown bear in the team room © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Known for his off-the-wall strategies, Gustard has put a 6ft 3in brown bear in the team room

Eddie Jones took to calling England’s substitutes ‘finishers’ when he joined in 2016, which angered many traditionalists, and now Gustard has defended taking a leaf out of his former boss’s book.

‘Why can’t we call them something different?’ said the Quins head of rugby. ‘Why do they have to be called substitutes, reserves, or replacements? They are not subbing on, they are not a reserve to somebody. They are coming on to have an impact.

‘I don’t see a big drama about it. Someone wanted to call them reserves, so be it. I might find that funny.’

Ireland wing Jacob Stockdale will miss Ulster’s opening Guinness PRO14 games next month with a hamstring injury.

The 22-year-old, who scored a record seven tries in last season’s Six Nations, faces six to eight weeks on the sidelines.

Ulster tweeted: ‘Jacob Stockdale suffered a grade 2 hamstring strain in training and is expected to return to play in 6-8 weeks.’

An amateur player has been banned from all sport for four years after admitting doping.

Clevedon RFC centre Dean Ashfield, a self-employed builder and bricklayer, tested positive for three banned substances last year. His ban will run until 2021.

‘Mr Ashfield tested positive for drostanolone, trenbolone and clenbuterol,’ the RFU said in a statement. ‘All three anabolic agents are non-specified substances included on the 2017 World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list.’

The Somerset club were relegated to the Western Counties League, English rugby’s seventh tier, last season.

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