Saints coach Dowson hails 'class act' Horne

Rob Horne (right) was congratulated by Jamie Elliott after scoring for the Wanderers at Heywood Road (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Rob Horne (right) was congratulated by Jamie Elliott after scoring for the Wanderers at Heywood Road (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Phil Dowson labelled Rob Horne 'a class act' after the Australia centre impressed for the Wanderers against Sale Jets on Monday night.

Horne scored on his first appearance in Northampton colours as he cut a nice line and charged in to dot down during the first half of the Prem Rugby A League clash.

The 28-year-old was replaced at half-time, with a clear eagerness to keep the player fresh for Saturday's east midlands derby against Leicester Tigers at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday.

And Dowson was delighted with the efforts of the former Waratahs player, who arrived at Saints last week having completed a break after the conclusion of the Super Rugby season.

"Rob Horne is a class act, obviously," said Dowson, who was drafted in as an assistant coach during the summer and who took charge of the Wanderers on Monday night.

"You don't get that many caps (29) for Australia without knowing what you're doing.

"He's obviously a tough runner but very skilful.

"He's a good leader. He hasn't said a huge amount because he's still getting to grips with the system, but he's a class act."

Another player making his first Northampton appearance was South Africa scrum-half Cobus Reinach, who played 50 minutes in the 22-7 success against the Jets.

And Dowson said: "It's difficult when you're in a playmaking position and you don't know many people and haven't been here very long, but I thought he looked sharp.

"Tom Kessell also looked sharp when he came on and it gives us options at scrum-half."

Like Reinach, George North was also replaced around the 50-minute mark as Saints looked to save him for Saturday.

And Dowson confirmed a plan was in place to only play certain players for a limited amount of time.

"We've got to be mindful of injuries with the game against Leicester to come on Saturday," Dowson said.

"We had a plan of not wanting to overplay guys who might be playing on Saturday and that's the way we went with that."

The Wanderers secured the bonus-point win thanks to tries from Charlie Clare, Horne, Jamie Elliott and Jamal Ford-Robinson.

And Dowson said: "I thought the defensive efforts from all the guys was outstanding.

"A lot of the younger guys put their hand up.

"After a disappointing Saturday (Saints lost 55-24 in their Premiership opener against Saracens) it was really good to get a win on a wet Monday night in Sale.

"I was really pleased with the effort, energy and physicality.

"There's obviously mistakes and things we can do better, but overall I was really pleased with the desire of the side."