'Henry Paul used to run into our office and ask for the match DVD'
GLOUCESTER were pioneers of video analysis more than ten years ago.
Director of rugby Nigel Melville and coach Dean Ryan arrived at Kingsholm in 2002 following Philippe Saint-Andre's departure and went straight to work.
At the same time, Joe Pointon was in Gloucester's Academy and studying for his business information systems degree with multimedia at the University of Gloucestershire.
His father Dave was already involved with the Cherry and Whites set-up doing video analysis and the Gloucester coaching hierarchy asked Pointon junior to help.
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With rugby league convert Henry Paul at the club and defence coach Dave Ellis making his name in league, Joe said their cross code cousins were big advocates of video analysis.
"Dean Ryan championed it really and there were not many people doing it at the time," he said.
"Philippe Saint-Andre was not too bothered about it but defence coach Dave Ellis was massive on it, absolutely massive.
"We used to have the likes of Henry Paul running into the office and asking for a DVD.
"When he was playing rugby league those boys were quite well ahead of the time.
"Dean was interested in the forward-orientated stuff and was keen on wide passages, looking out for wide highlights of the games, standard scrums and lineouts."
Northampton were the first Premiership team to use the programme Prozone, which was originally used by football clubs and uses a series of cameras to capture every player's movement and action.
Gloucester outfit Old Centralians film all of their South West One East fixtures too, both for their website and so head coach Jack Preece can assess them.
Technology has moved on from a decade ago with videos progressing into DVDs but Pointon said the Kingsholm men were ahead of their time.
"While I was in the academy I was working with my dad and back then it was all video tapes," he added.
"Sometimes we were working well past midnight sorting out these tapes for the coaches to look at the next day.
"The footage went into this massive old computer in the old stand at Kingsholm and you would get to the end of all the clips and it would crash so you had to put the whole game in again.
"I was at Kingsholm to film the final pre-season game this year when they played Ireland but ESPN or Sky are at every game now and they're kind of doing my old job!"