Saints star Harrison happy with Dowson's switch to defence

Phil Dowson is now Saints' defence coach (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Phil Dowson is now Saints' defence coach (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Teimana Harrison says Phil Dowson's 'direct' approach to defence has been a good change for Saints.

Dowson has moved into the role of defence coach, with Mark Hopley switching to an assistant coach position.

Interim head coach Alan Dickens made the decision to change things around in the club's management team, which is now spearheaded by new coaching consultant Alan Gaffney.

And Harrison is enjoying working with Dowson, who returned to Saints as a transition coach after retiring from playing at Worcester Warriors last summer.

"It's more direct," said Harrison, when asked what Dowson has brought to the team's defensive approach.

"We are clear on what our defensive system is.

"He's very clear he wants us up and into their face.

"He wants us hitting people with two men.

"It's been a good change."

When asked why he made the decision to move Dowson to defence, Dickens said: "It was one of those things in terms of change.

"We'd lost a lot of games, Jim went and it was either continue as we are or slightly change the dynamics, which is what we're doing.

"Phil Dowson has been around the first team since rejoining the club, he's a good leader, he's passionate and he understands the game."

Saints CEO Mark Darbon fully supported the coaching reshuffle following the departure of director of rugby Jim Mallinder on December 12.

Darbon said: "Alan Dickens has been the driver of that decision. He's been in this interim head coach role and will continue to be.

"It was his recommendation and we were happy to support that.

"We think Hoppers is a fantastic coach and has got a lot of potential and so he's got a very important role for us moving forward.

"It's the early part of Dows's career, but we though a reshuffle was the right thing to do at this stage."