Dowson can't wait to welcome Saints' England stars back

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Phil Dowson says it will be fantastic to welcome Saints' England stars back next week.

Following Saturday's final Guinness Six Nations match, against Ireland in Dublin, David Ribbans, Lewis Ludlam and Alex Mitchell will head back to cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens.

Ribbans has been able to play for Saints at times during the Six Nations period, but Ludlam and Mitchell have not.

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And with three huge Gallagher Premiership games on the horizon, starting with a mouthwatering match at London Irish next Saturday, Saints will need all of their stars to shine.

Lewis LudlamLewis Ludlam
Lewis Ludlam

"It's a brilliant positive that we get those guys back in the group," Dowson said.

"It will be fantastic to welcome them back in and make sure they're up to speed with what we're doing."

Saints have this weekend off before returning to action at the Gtech Community Stadium on March 25.

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But there has been no complete rest for the black, green and gold following the 45-26 win against Bath last Friday.

"We've been training this week and we're going to make sure we're all set to go down at Brentford," Dowson said.

"The week after Irish, there will be some time off."

Saints will have the first two weekends off in April as they do not play between March 25 and the clash with Saracens on April 15.

So what will their plan be?

"It's very dependent on who we're playing next, how many games we've played," Dowson said.

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"We've kept rolling through this week to make sure we're set up for Irish."

Saints may now have to do without Matt Proctor, who came off against Bath last time out.

"He was absolutely gutted because he wants to contribute to this team," Dowson said.

"He's had an issue with his calf and we've been ascertaining what that is."