Dowson provides injury update on Saints prop Hill

Paul Hill was forced off against Newcastle Falcons (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Paul Hill was forced off against Newcastle Falcons (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

​Phil Dowson says Paul Hill has been training this week, allaying injury fears after the prop was forced off against Newcastle Falcons last Saturday.

Hill, who only returned from a shoulder problem last month, took a hefty knock before half-time and was replaced by Ben Franks at the break.

Saints went on to lose the Gallagher Premiership game 16-14 thanks to a late Mark Wilson try and Toby Flood conversion.

And the black, green and gold are now preparing for a break from league action as they return to the Challenge Cup on Saturday.

The Dragons, who Saints beat 35-21 in October, will provide the opposition at the Gardens this weekend.

And when asked for an update on Hill ahead of the game, forwards coach Dowson said: "He's good. He's taken part in training this week so we'll see how he goes."

Saints spurned several chances to put the game to bed against Newcastle, eventually conceding a try six minutes after the clock had struck 80.

And Dowson said: "We're frustrated, really frustrated.

"We did some good things against Newcastle and we did some very poor things, in terms of not looking after the ball and not turning some of that pressure into points.

"We came away with a loss, which was bitterly frustrating.

"We created our own downfall in not closing it out.

"We've played two desperate sides (Sale and Newcastle) at the bottom of the table who have fought tooth and nail and we haven't dealt with the pressure. It's come back to bite us."

Defeat to the Falcons left Saints 10th in the league standings, just two points above the relegation place.

But Dowson is remaining upbeat.

He said: "The league table doesn't lie, but there's still a long way to go and we're very confident the squad and the game plan we've got will get us results.

"There's still a huge amount for us to improve upon but I've no doubt we can climb the league and because it's so compressed we can do it quite quickly.

"In some areas we're seeing the progression we want.

"Defensively, Alan Dickens has put it together and the guys are working incredibly hard.

"For long periods we've looked really strong in defence.

"There's nothing wrong with the intent, but we make silly mistakes, we don't look after the ball and we're being punished for that."