Dowson happy as Saints stick to their guns against London Irish

Phil DowsonPhil Dowson
Phil Dowson
Phil Dowson admits Saints weren’t clinical enough against London Irish.

But he was pleased with the way they ensured the opposition’s tiredness eventually told in the 38-22 win at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens.

London Irish were hit by three yellow cards in as many minutes at the end of the first half, but Saints failed to make them pay.

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Having led 10-0, their lead was cut by three points before Irish were restored to a full complement.

However, the return of the Irish players from the sin bin seemed to help Saints as they went on to score three further tries to secure a bonus-point success.

“We didn’t really take advantage of the numerical advantage,” Dowson said.

“We weren’t clinical enough, we didn’t keep hold of the ball and we forced things, which is frustrating but what we did do is we stuck to our guns when it got back to 15 apiece and we managed to get on top.

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“Big parts of our game came back, but it is tough playing with 12 guys – we’ve done in the past a couple of seasons ago and it does take it out of you.

“That fatigue element was also part of it in the last 20 minutes. We could have been way better in that area, but we got our game back on plan and we managed to capitalise.”

Saints were hit by a late blow before the game as Dan Biggar, who was due to skipper the side from fly-half, had to withdraw due to illness.

That brought James Grayson into the starting 15.

“I don’t know what illness it was (with Dan Biggar) but he phoned me this morning saying he wasn’t in a fit state to play,” Dowson said.

“It was disappointing he wasn’t playing, but he should be okay.”