Dowson insists reward outweighs risk as Saints opt for 6:2 split again

Saints' replacements struggled to make an impact against WaspsSaints' replacements struggled to make an impact against Wasps
Saints' replacements struggled to make an impact against Wasps
Phil Dowson admits Saints’ decision to employ a 6:2 split on the bench is ‘going to hurt us at times’.

But the forwards coach believes the reward outweighs the risk at the current moment.

For the past two matches, Saints have opted to have six forwards and two backs on the bench.

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They narrowly beat London Irish 23-21 but then suffered a defeat against Wasps, losing two backs - Matt Proctor and George Furbank - to injury during the first half of that game, leaving them stretched for the second 40 minutes.

They ended up with summer signing Frank Lomani, traditionally a scrum-half, on the wing, and shipped an alarming amount of penalties as they fell to a 26-20 defeat in Coventry.

Saints had last weekend off as it was one their two Gallagher Premiership bye weeks this season - the other comes in February - but they are now preparing to face Worcester Warriors at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens.

And ahead of that game, Dowson was asked why the 6:2 split has been employed in recent times.

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He explained: “It’s primarily based on the fact that we’re playing high-tempo, high-energy and the game is quick, certainly at the start of the year when the weather’s not too bad.

“The ground is still hard and everyone’s moving quickly so it means the big boys tire out quickly and we want to make sure we have a lot of fresh guys on the bench.

“Likewise, we’ve got people who can play multiple positions in the backs so it gives us some freedom to really have a high impact in the front five to give those guys short bursts and have an impact, whereas the guys in the backline cover lots of positions.”

When asked whether he fears the 6:2 split will leave Saints exposed again at some point, Dowson replied: “It’s going to hurt us at times and it probably did hurt us at Wasps.

“There’s a risk and reward there and it won’t always be the case that we go 6:2 on the bench.

“But Boydy (Saints boss Chris Boyd) and the coaches have decided that we want to go 6:2 at the moment.”