Dowson gives Saints a Worcester warning

Phil Dowson knows all about the challenge Saints will face at Sixways (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Phil Dowson knows all about the challenge Saints will face at Sixways (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

No one in the Saints squad knows as much about the Sixways spirit as Phil Dowson.

The assistant coach was part of the Worcester side who lived up to the Warriors tag in October 2015 as the newly-promoted outfit sprung a surprise.

Dowson delivered a huge display as the home side secured a 13-12 win that was celebrated in raucous fashion at Sixways.

He had bitten his former club and almost did so again last season, when he again started in the back row for the Warriors against Saints.

On that occasion, Jim Mallinder’s men just edged home, earning a nerve-jangling 18-17 victory.

And now they prepare to head back to Sixways this Saturday, desperate to end a run of two successive Aviva Premiership defeats.

But Worcester’s form has been far worse, as they have failed to win any of their seven league matches so far.

And Dowson recognises just how fired up the team he spent two seasons at before retiring in May will be.

“They’ll be desperate,” Dowson said.

“They’re at the wrong end of the table, they’ll be desperate to get a first win on the board and they’ll see us as an opportunity to get a scalp.

“They beat us a couple of years ago there and last year it went to the last kick of the game so they won’t be scared by Northampton Saints going there.

“They’ll be pretty pumped up so the first 20 minutes will be very interesting.”

The current Worcester crop contains former Saints such as Ethan Waller, GJ van Velze and Sam Olver.

And Dowson said: “They’ve got some very talented individuals.

“They will be hurting from their results this year, but watching their performance against Harlequins, that will give them quite a lot of confidence going forward.

“Defensively, if they can shore up some of that and concede fewer points, they will become a very dangerous outfit.”

Saints struggled defensively during a recent five-match losing streak, shipping 28 tries.

But they only conceded one in the 41-7 success against the Dragons at Franklin’s Gardens last Saturday.

“Defence is again key for us,” Dowson said.

“We only conceded one try last weekend and if we can do that again on Saturday, we’ll win.”