Dowson refuses to blame officials after Saints' 'heartbreaking' defeat at Gloucester

Saints forwards coach Phil Dowson
Saints forwards coach Phil Dowson

Phil Dowson refused to lay any blame at the door of the officials after Saints' 'heartbreaking' defeat to Gloucester at Kingsholm.

Gerbrandt Grobler's try allied with Billy Twelvetrees' conversion earned a 14-12 victory for the Cherry and Whites after the clock had hit 80 in the Premiership Rugby Cup clash.

But Saints may have felt hard done by after referee Greg Macdonald and his TMO failed to penalise a Twelvetrees knock-on in the build-up to Matt Banahan's first-half score.

And there was also a suggestion that there was a knock-on from a set piece late on before Grobler was given his try, which came after referee had initially signalled for a scrum.

However, forwards coach Dowson was not ready to blame the officials for the defeat.

"I don't think we should look at the referee, we have to look at ourselves first," Dowson said.

"There are so many rules, and the referees aren't going to get everything correct.

"You always feel aggrieved when calls go against you but last week (in the win at Wasps) they went for us.

"(Saints boss) Chris (Boyd) has just said in the dressing room that there were lots of things we did poorly that we have to improve upon, but the most reassuring, uplifting and impressive thing was the commitment of the players.

"We showed tremendous character to put ourselves in a position to win the game and it was heartbreaking to lose at the end."

Saints were hit by several injury issues on the night, with Piers Francis, Mike Haywood and Luther Burrell all forced off.

Francis took a blow to the head, Haywood was hobbling as he left the field and Burrell appeared to hurt his arm in a collision.

But Dowson said: "Piers is good. He's not going to be doing any modelling, ever. He took a nasty blow to the head and he's got a black eye, but he's otherwise unscathed.

"On the others, I'm not sure."