Dowson knows it keeps getting tighter at the top as Saints host Bath

Phil Dowson knows the margins at the top level are getting tighter all the time.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

And the Saints boss says that is making the Gallagher Premiership ‘a very entertaining league’.

Dowson’s side picked up their first win of the Premiership campaign last Sunday, surviving a late scare as they edged out Newcastle Falcons 16-14.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Brett Connon’s late missed conversion proved costly for the hosts at a rain-soaked Kingston Park.

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

It was the third time in as many matches that jeopardy had been felt right until the final whistle, with Saints having failed to grab the try that could have won the game in losses to Sale Sharks and Bristol Bears.

South Africa also recently showed how tight life is at the top as they won all three Rugby World Cup knockout stage matches by a single point on their way to glory.

And Dowson knows just how key mental strength is in the search for success.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We won by two points last weekend, Quins won by one point, Leicester had that late kick from Jamie Shillcock to win by a point at Bath so there's nothing in it,” Dowson said.

“The margins get tighter and tighter and it all makes for a very entertaining league.

"We showed lots of mental resilience last weekend and that's something we've been talking about and that we’re trying to foster in our environment so it was very good to see it there.”

With just three rounds played, no team in the Premiership has an unbeaten record intact.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Bath lost theirs against Leicester Tigers last Saturday, and Dowson is expecting a reaction when his side host the men from The Rec on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

"They'll be clearly disappointed with how that (Leicester game) ended," Dowson said.

"They snuck ahead with a couple of minutes left and couldn't quite get over the line. Fair play to Leicester.

"They are a group that got a bit of momentum at the end of last season, started to really believe what they were doing was going to be successful.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"They carried that on in pre-season with Johann van Graan and they've got an unbelievable group in terms of quality.

"They've added Finn Russell to that and there's quality all around.

"They (the Bath half-back pairing) have already done stuff and been very entertaining so it's something we've got to make sure we're aware of and nullify as best we can."

Saints have lost their only league home game this season, suffering a 33-27 defeat to Bristol Bears.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

And Dowson said: "We were disappointed with Bristol last time out at home so we want to remedy that.

"We want to come out all guns blazing, like we did against Bristol, but keep it going for a longer period of time to really show what we're capable of."