Dowson hopes to help deliver more cup glory at Saints

Phil Dowson will play a key role in coaching Saints during the Anglo-Welsh Cup (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Phil Dowson will play a key role in coaching Saints during the Anglo-Welsh Cup (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Phil Dowson knows exactly what it's like to lift the Anglo-Welsh Cup - now he wants to help the next generation of Saints to claim glory in the competition.

Jim Mallinder's men begin their campaign against Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park on Saturday afternoon.

And Dowson will play a big part in guiding the team as he rejoined Northampton as an assistant coach during the summer.

The 36-year-old was captain of the most recent Saints side to win the Anglo-Welsh Cup, back in 2010.

And now he is looking forward to seeing the current crop make their own way in the competition this weekend.

"Winning it was a massive feeling," Dowson said.

"Having retired in May, I look back and there are pictures of me picking up the silverware, which is very special.

"You also have the picture of the guys around you: Bruce (Reihana), Nacho (Lobbe), Daisy (Christian Day), Brian Mujati and it's nice to have those memories.

"We've also got a very talented group now.

"I didn't know before this year because I'd been away (playing at Worcester) for two years but I've got to know a lot of them and I'm really impressed with their professionalism, their desire to play well and their quality.

"There are a lot of really talented boys who want to make a mark and step up from the Anglo-Welsh to the Premiership to Europe and to bigger and better things."

But Dowson and the Saints players will know just what kind of challenge awaits at the Sandy Park citadel this weekend.

"We've looked at the stats and they haven't lost at Sandy Park since October 30, 2016, so that's a home record they'll be very proud of and be defending.

"Exeter is a very similar club in terms of its make-up and being a marker in the community with the number of players it brings in from the surrounding areas.

"It's a very competitive squad and I'm sure they'll have a lot of guys wanting to prove a point to their coaches, just as we've got a lot of guys here who want to make a point to Jim.

"It makes it hotly-contested and hopefully a pretty fiery occasion."