Dowson to start as Saints challenge Saracens

Pictures by Linda Dawson

Pictures by Linda Dawson

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Phil Dowson will start for Northampton Saints in their huge battle with Saracens in the Aviva Premiership on Sunday.

Dowson was one of the players released by England this weekend and his club are taking advantage by putting him into the side.

Saints are going into the Vicarage Road clash having lost once in the past six Aviva Premiership Rugby matches, but director of rugby Jim Mallinder says that the team will have to be at its best against the reigning champions.

“We’re feeling positive about Sunday’s game, but we know it’s going to be a hard challenge for us,” he commented. “Saracens’ last two results have been very close and they’re still a good side. They’ve got a lot of quality players in their squad and some players coming back from international duty so it will be a tough game.

“We think we’re good enough to win, but we’ll have to play better than we did last week against a team which plays very effectively. We’ll have to stop their momentum and make sure that we do the right things in the right areas.

“We’ll certainly have to cut out the little errors which at this level can easily lead to five or seven points. But we’ve spoken about that during the week, worked hard in training and are ready for Sunday’s game.”

Saints: Diggin, Artemyev, Pisi, Downey, Armstrong, Myler, Roberts; Tonga’uiha, Long, Doran-Jones, Manoa, Day, Dowson, Clark, Wilson. Reps: McMillan, Waller, Mercey, Sorenson, Wood, Glynn, Lamb, May.

Saracens: Goode, Taylor, Wyles, Powell, Short, Hodgson, Stringer; Gill, Brits, Nieto, Borthwick, Kruis, Melck, Saull, Joubert. Reps: George, Smit, Stevens, Vyvyan, Wray, de Kock, Tomkins, Maddock.