Saints set for 'huge' Gloucester game as Dowson insists play-offs still a possibility

Phil Dowson says today's game at Gloucester is ‘huge’ for Saints.

Phil Dowson
Phil Dowson

And the forwards coach, who will become director of rugby at the conclusion of the current campaign, insists a top-four finish is still a possiblity in the Gallagher Premiership this season.

Saints slipped to a third defeat in succession last Sunday, losing 34-31 at home to Exeter Chiefs.

They remain ninth in the standings.

And ahead of this weekend’s trip to Kingsholm to face a Gloucester side who are also in the play-off hunt, Dowson said: “It’s huge and I’m sure they’re saying the same thing.

“What we need to do, having lost three on the bounce, is get a win, regardless of whether we climb the table or not.

“We need to rescue some momentum and we need to turn it around.

“We need to get back up the table and I’m not looking too far ahead, I’m more concerned about what we need to do to win at Gloucester.

“The league table is so tight and more or less everyone has to play each other.

“We’ve got a game in hand on some of the sides above us so we need to sort it out.

“But the top four is definitely still a possiblity for us.”

Gloucester have enjoyed significant improvement under their boss, George Skivington.

And Dowson has been impressed by the work that has been done in the west country.

"George Skivington has done a fantastic job with them and they're on a bit of a roll," Dowson said.

"They believe in what they're trying to do as a group, they're very invested in that and it will be a big challenge for us.

"You listen to George in the media and how he spent a lot of time with that maul and how he put a big emphasis on the set piece as soon as he came in and how that's evolved.

"He came in with a plan and it's really worked.

"They've added the backs play in there with Mark Atkinson going hard at the line, they've got a very fast back three with Ollie Thorley, Louis Rees-Zammit and those guys.

"They've got a lot of threats, they're playing to a plan and it's pretty effective.

"They're a different kettle of fish from the team we played there last season and we need to make sure we turn the momentum round and start getting some wins.

"We need to score more and concede less and make sure we understand what we're doing in attack and defence to make our game plan tick."