Dowson doesn't want Saints to be drawn into 'a game of basketball' at Bristol

Phil Dowson has urged Saints not to let Friday night's game at Bristol Bears become 'a game of basketball'.
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Clashes between the two clubs have often been extremely entertaining affairs, but Saints have lost each of their past three matches against the Bears.

They have been beaten twice by Bristol already this season, with their most recent trip to Ashton Gate, in September, ending in a last-gasp 39-38 defeat following a Gabriel Ibitoye try.

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"It's two sides who want to try to move the ball to space," Dowson said.

Phil Dowson (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)Phil Dowson (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Phil Dowson (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

"They're one of the sides who are exciting to watch and not necessarily exciting to play against because you're always on the edge of your seat as they've got world class players who can open you up.

"Hopefully it's going to be a good exhibition of what the game is about but we have to make sure we don't get into a game of basketball and it becomes ping-pong, you-score-we-score. We need to assert some dominance over that."

Saints have not played a Gallagher Premiership match since the win against Newcastle Falcons at cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens on January 27.

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The league has been on a pause due to the Guinness Six Nations, but with international action now over, the full focus is on the Premiership.

And Saints will be desperate to retain their current position at the top of the standings.

"I have actually missed it," Dowson said.

"I walked into the recent game against Stormers and it felt real and fresh so I'm looking forward to getting back into it.

"I'm looking forward to having the pressure on and seeing where we're at really."