Saints flanker Dowson recognises Bath’s title threat

PREPARED - Phil Dowson (Picture: Linda Dawson)

PREPARED - Phil Dowson (Picture: Linda Dawson)

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Saints flanker Phil Dowson is well aware of Bath’s title credentials.

And he knows his men must make sure they are at their best on Saturday as they bid to avoid another Leinster-style home humbling.

Saints were thrashed 40-7 by the Irish side in their most recent game at Franklin’s Gardens.

It was a long evening, and one Dowson is desperate not to repeat against a Bath team breathing down Northampton’s necks in the Premiership standings.

“We know that they’re going to be title contenders, we know they want to be in the top four and so do we,” said the experienced back row forward.

“It becomes more of a crunch game because we know they’re one of the better sides so, as we saw three weeks ago, if we’re slightly off against the better sides we’re in for a long afternoon.

“It’s a huge game but we have to prepare the same way we’ve been preparing for the past couple of weeks and turn up on Saturday ready to rock and roll.”

Bath are currently only four points adrift of second-placed Saints in the standings and have shown real signs of improvement this season.

Dowson has been hugely impressed with Saturday’s opponents and knows how strong they are across the park.

“They’re unbelievable,” he said. “They’ve recruited really well, have a strong coaching staff, they’re playing excellent rugby, they’ve got a big, bulky pack and excellent backs to use it when they’ve won it.

“They’re a dangerous side and obviously their most recent results are testament to that.”