'Two of the best attacking players in the league' - Saints coach Dowson highlights Harlequins duo

Forwards coach Phil Dowson says Saints will be up against 'two of the best attacking players in the league' when they host Harlequins on Saturday.
Phil DowsonPhil Dowson
Phil Dowson

Dowson highlighted the danger Quins half-backs Danny Care and Marcus Smith are able to bring ahead of a game that Saints are so desperate to win.

The black, green and gold have not won a Gallagher Premiership home game in 2020, suffering seven successive defeats.

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They have lost 14 of the past 15 matches they have played, one of which was against Quins, who won 30-17 at The Stoop back in August.

And Dowson said: "With Paul Gustard in charge there and his background as a defence coach, they've got a really aggressive defence.

"They've got a back row that go really hard at the ball and playing against them is really tricky because they make it as difficult as possible.

"In attack, they've got two of the best attacking players in the league, Danny Care and Marcus Smith, who have the ability to find space, want to play quickly and have the licence to pull strings and try things, which makes them tough to play against.

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"Although they'll be disappointed about their Exeter result (Quins lost 33-3 at The Stoop last Friday), it was only 12-3 after 70 minutes so the eventual scoreline probably flattered the Chiefs a bit and Quins just went off the boil a bit in the final 10 minutes.

"But they did well in that game and could have turned it around.

"It's another big ask, but it's one that we simply have to win."

One weapon Saints may again have up their sleeve could come from lineouts in the Quins 22.

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Twice in as many weeks, the black, green and gold backs have piled into mauls, with Tom Collins scoring tries against Worcester and Sale thanks to dominant drives.

"It's not necessarily a new thing, lots of other sides do it and it's actually really tricky to defend," Dowson said.

"It's something we've added to our repertoire.

"Ideally, Tom Collins wouldn't get anywhere near the ball, and I've told him that, but he keeps sneaking in there at the moment."

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