Dowson starts against Saints

Phil Dowson will be back at Franklin's Gardens with Worcester (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Phil Dowson will be back at Franklin's Gardens with Worcester (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
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Phil Dowson will make a rapid return to Franklin’s Gardens as he lines up for Worcester Warriors in a behind-closed-doors pre-season friendly against Saints on Friday (kick-off 2pm).

Dowson made 186 appearances for Northampton before leaving them to join newly-promoted Worcester during the summer.

And the 34-year-old is at six in a strong Warriors team, who will face Jim Mallinder’s men in the Aviva Premiership opener at Sixways seven days later.

Another former Saint, GJ van Velze, captains the team from No.8, while Ryan Lamb is among the replacements.

Saints will not name their squad until the day of the game, but they will once again be expected select a powerful side with the new campaign looming.

Northampton have won both of their pre-season games so far, beating Saracens 36-17 at Allianz Park before leaving it late to beat Wasps 27-23 at the Ricoh Arena last Sunday.

Worcester side to face Saints: Pennell; Humphreys, Oliver, Mills, Biggs; Heathcote, Arr; Ruskin, Annett, Schonert; O’Callaghan, Barry; Dowson, Lewis, van Velze (c).

Replacements: Sowrey, Leleimalefaga, Rees, O’Shea, Cox, Mama, Mulchrone, Lamb, Grove, Stelling, Howard.