Dowson: Worcester offer just too good to turn down

READY FOR A NEW CHALLENGE - Phil Dowson is swapping Franklin's Gardens for Sixways
READY FOR A NEW CHALLENGE - Phil Dowson is swapping Franklin's Gardens for Sixways

Phil Dowson has stressed his decision to leave Saints was not a simple one - but admits he couldn’t turn down the offer of a two-year deal at Worcester.

The 33-year-old flanker, who has made 179 appearances for Northampton since making the move from Newcastle in 2009, will head to Sixways this summer.

Dowson had been offered another year at Saints, but is desperate to extend his career for as long as possible.

And having discussed his options with director of rugby Jim Mallinder, the influential forward decided it was time to move on.

“It wasn’t (a simple decision) at all,” said Dowson. “I sat down with Jim and the rest of the coaches, who have been awesome and very supportive. They know me as a person.

“I had an open chat with Jim and told him that I want to play. He said that’s not necessarily going to happen and ‘I can’t offer you two years’, so the two things couple together made it very difficult for me to stay.

“At the same time, I wanted to fight for my place but sometimes you need a new challenge and my biggest fear was fading away and being that guy.

“I wanted to be playing and starting games as opposed to sitting in the stands and watching.”

Worcester currently sit top of the Championship, one point ahead of Bristol in the race for promotion to the Premiership.

Dowson is looking forward to playing his part for Dean Ryan’s ambitious outfit, but says he will always hold Northampton close to his heart.

“I love Northampton and it’s my sixth season now, but you’ve always got to look forward and Northampton were only offering one year, while Worcester were offering two,” he added.

“I can understand why Northampton would only offer one year with the guys who are around: Teimana Harrison, Ben Nutley and others.

“Couple that with the fact Jamie Gibson is coming (from Leicester) this summer, Jim had said my game time would be limited and I wouldn’t get as much game time as I had this year.

“As much as I love the Saints, I love playing the game and hopefully you can see that from the way I handle myself on the pitch.

“I want to play, not sit on the bench or sit in the stands and watch.

“You’re a long time retired and I’d much rather have my boots on tearing it up and helping teams win games.”