Saints ready for the return of 'real pressure and intensity'

Saints forwards coach Phil Dowson
Saints forwards coach Phil Dowson

Forwards coach Phil Dowson is steeling Saints for the return of the 'real intensity' of Gallagher Premiership rugby.

Wasps will be the visitors to Franklin's Gardens on Saturday as league action makes its comeback after five weekends of cup matches.

Saints have won three and lost two during that time, starting their Premiership Rugby Cup campaign well and their Challenge Cup adventure in mixed fashion.

They now head back into the Premiership looking to improve on a record of two wins from six matches in England's top tier.

And Dowson said: "The Premiership is where the real pressure is, it's where the real intensity is in terms of the pressure on results and where it leaves you in the table.

"We're under no illusions as to what's coming this weekend against Wasps and we need to make sure we prepare robustly and in the correct way.

"I'm hoping it's going to be a bright, beautiful November day this weekend, where both sides want to play.

"Wasps do that, the past two or three years under Dai Young, and Lima Sopoaga and those guys want to play the game."

But even if the weather is as wet and windy as it was during the 14-12 defeat to Gloucester last Friday, Saints will now be confident they can cope.

"We've played in the wet enough, down at Bath and at Twickenham, to know how it affects our game," Dowson said.

"We definitely want to go and play because we've got a side that is capable of tearing up, but we've got to be mindful of the conditions and make sure we don't overplay.

"Chris Boyd has got a style of play and I'm not convinced we've seen it at its most efficient and elaborate as yet, but we're still learning and we've had a lot of guys coming in and playing for the first time.

"There are definitely improvements we can make but there are definitely signs of that style."