Samu Manoa says Phil Dowson is Saints’ answer to inspirational Super Bowl-winning star Ray Lewis.
USA international Manoa is a big American football fan and watched Baltimore Ravens beat San Francisco 49ers in this year’s finale.
Future Hall of Fame linebacker Lewis, 37, led the way, with his presence on the field helping the Ravens to a 34-31 win.He gave an emotional 11-minute speech after the game and was later labelled ‘the ultimate leader’ by team-mate Terrell Suggs.
And Manoa, who joined Saints from San Francisco Golden Gate in the summer of 2011, sees similar qualities in Dowson (pictured), who was Newcastle Falcons captain before moving to Northampton in 2009.
“Every team should have a Ray Lewis,” said Manoa. “His speeches are real good and they fire a lot of people up. “You listen to him talk before games and during games and he keeps the players motivated to keep going.
“When they’re down, he starts to speak and picks a lot of people up to get them to up their game.
“Who is Saints’ Ray Lewis? I think Dows is. “He chats a lot. He’s good, he gets into the boys and we need that at a time like this.”
Dowson could be handed the Saints captaincy once again this weekend, with regular leader Dylan Hartley on Six Nations duty with England.
And the stand-in skipper will need to whip his team into a frenzy ahead of a huge Premiership clash with play-off rivals Gloucester.
“We’ve got one more competition to try to win some silverware and we’ve got to start it off with a good win this weekend,” said Manoa. “Everybody’s got to come out hitting.”