Saints prop Waller relishing Dowson reunion

Alex Waller is looking forward to facing former team-mate Phil Dowson (right) (picture: Linda Dawson)
Alex Waller is looking forward to facing former team-mate Phil Dowson (right) (picture: Linda Dawson)
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Alex Waller is looking forward to Saturday’s reunion with former Saints star Phil Dowson.

Dowson spent six seasons at Northampton, making 186 appearances, before joining Worcester Warriors on a two-year deal last summer.

He starred in the Warriors’ Aviva Premiership opening-night win against Saints, having appeared in friendly match against his old club at Franklin’s Gardens a week earlier.

Dowson will make his first competitive return to the Gardens this weekend, with Worcester skipper GJ van Velze also heading back to his old stomping ground.

“I’m in touch with Dowson quite a bit,” Waller said. “We chat to see how the season is going.

“It will be good to see him on the pitch. Dows is a very confrontational character on the pitch, he’s fantastic to play with and he was great to play against at the start of the season.

“I’m looking forward to it and hopefully we’ll catch up after the game, have a drink or two and have a chat.

“I’m looking forward to seeing him and GJ coming back to the Gardens.

“They’re both very confrontational players and it will be good to play against them.

“But as soon as you cross that line, you park the friendships.

“There might be a little bit of banter exchanged on the pitch, but nothing too serious.

“Then afterwards, you shake hands, hug it out, have dinner, catch up.

“Dows won’t get a warm reception in the playing sense, but after he will.

“He was here for a long time and is still good friends with the majority of the squad.

“I’m looking forward to seeing him, but we’ll catch up after, not before.”

Saints will be desperate to produce a response after last Sunday’s disappointing 26-25 defeat at Newcastle Falcons.

But Worcester come into the game on a high, having ended their 13-match losing streak by beating in-form Sale Sharks at Sixways last weekend.

“If you look at Worcester’s results, they’ve taken a lot of teams close and lost narrowly in the last minute a few times,” Waller said.

“At the beginning of the season we maybe underestimated them a little bit and they came out of the blocks firing.

“Up front, each week is the same for me - I don’t think there’s a bad pack in the Premiership these days, but Worcester especially are a big pack.

“They’ve got experienced men like GJ, Dows, (Donncha) O’Callaghan in there so we’re looking forward to the challenge, but we’re definitely not underestimating them.

“If you look at some of their games recently, they’ve played really, really well.”