Dowson delighted with 'excellent' first-half showing as Saints see off Glasgow

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Phil Dowson saluted Saints for their 'excellent' first-half showing at Glasgow Warriors on Friday night.

Dowson's men stormed into a 22-5 lead by the break in their Investec Champions Cup opener.

Tommy Freeman scored twice, adding to a Courtney Lawes try, as Saints took their hosts to task.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Glasgow had only lost once at home during the previous two years, but they were well beaten, eventually falling to a 28-19 defeat at Scotstoun Stadium.

George Furbank skippered Saints to victory (photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)George Furbank skippered Saints to victory (photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
George Furbank skippered Saints to victory (photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

And Dowson said: "I'm really pleased.

"I thought we were excellent in the first half.

"We had an opportunity just before the break to get the bonus point, which would have been nice.

"We knew Glasgow, with their record, their quality, would come out in the second half and put us under a lot of pressure and we just about dealt with that.

"There's things we can obviously do better but we had a full bench coming on and making a massive impact to just about keep them out."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Saints have now beaten Harlequins, Saracens and Glasgow in the past three weeks.

And Dowson added: "We were good in the first 30 minutes, and that's not easy, to back it up from Saracens.

"One of the things we talk about all the time is consistency, consistency of physicality, consistency in attack and at the breakdown, especially in Europe where the refereeing is slightly different.

"We've been caught out in the previous years so all those things were elements of our training in the week.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"The guys put in a short week but a cracking week in terms of our training and we just wanted to put some of that on the pitch, knowing at some point Glasgow would have a purple patch and put us under pressure as well."

Glasgow grabbed two scores late on, through Ollie Smith and a penalty try.

But Saints had done enough to earn a memorable European win, ending a run of 10 successive losses in the Champions Cup.

Before the game, Dowson didn't want to put extra weight on the shoulders of his players with talk of that losing streak in the top tier tournament.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He said: "Every year it's a different group and this is our first European game with this group. You don't want to burden them with that history.

"What we did talk about is what a great tournament it is and the opportunities to create some momentum, the opportunities to have a good time together after a win like that in Glasgow and enjoy ourselves together.

"The story afterwards is only good if you get the right sort of story on the pitch."

Saints produced a huge defensive performance at Scotstoun, just as they had in the 18-12 success at StoneX Stadium against Saracens six days earlier.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Glasgow currently sit second in the United Rugby Championship, only behind Leinster in the standings.

But Saints stood up to them so well.

Dowson said: "Glasgow have got the highest ball in play time in the URC, and they've got the ability to move the ball and play for long periods of time and create opportunities for good runners.

"If you give penalties away, they've got a tough maul, which we dealt with as well, so those are the things we spoke about.

"We had that defensive ability to push through, also we limited their maul opportunities and got stuck into them when they did get there."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Saints lost Alex Waller to injury during the first half as he was forced off with concussion after Scott Cummings unfortunately landed on him at a lineout.

When asked for an injury update on Waller, Dowson said: "He's okay, he's knocking around out there.

"He's obviously got a sore neck but he spends his life with a sore neck, being a loosehead prop.

"Hopefully he's okay.

"It's obviously a nasty injury, that sort of compression, so we'll look after him and make sure he doesn't do too much dancing."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Next up for Saints is a huge clash with Toulon at cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens next Friday night.

And Dowson said: "It's another short week because Saturday is a travel day for us.

"Monday is a big day for us because we've got Tuesday off so we're frontloading the week. We'll have to see how banged up we are and what we can get out of that day.

"We're really pleased with Saracens, that was a really good performance, really pleased with tonight, that was a good performance, but we know we've got Toulon coming with their mega-stars."