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'You can’t underestimate what a good side Saracens are'

By PA
Saracens' Owen Farrell tackles Northampton's Fin Smith (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Phil Dowson believes the character of his Northampton Saints side shone through in a scintillating 41-30 victory over Saracens. Saints scored five tries to Sarries’ four to extend their lead at the top of the Gallagher Premiership with just four rounds left to play.

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After a heavy defeat to Bristol Bears last Friday, director of rugby Dowson was delighted to see his team respond so emphatically against the holders. “That speaks volumes about the character of the group,” he said on Friday night.

“We were all disappointed last week and the response was clear to see. We want to speak with our actions and not necessarily with our words. We all knew what the issue was (against Bristol), we spoke really openly and the group is really connected. It wasn’t a tough week, it was a great week to get stuck into.

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“Everyone kind of knows what the deal is and we wanted to put things right. It’s the great thing about sport, that you get another week to show what you’re capable of.”

Saints led from start to finish at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens and victory sees them complete the double over Saracens for just the second time in 20 years.

Fixture
Gallagher Premiership
Northampton
41 - 30
Full-time
Saracens
All Stats and Data

“We were very direct at the breakdown and we put the ball into space at the right times,” said Dowson. “We didn’t overplay and that is managed by the nine and 10.

“You can’t underestimate what a good side Saracens are and what that took out of the players physically and emotionally. Having a few days over Easter with families will get us going for next week.”

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For Saracens, this was a step backwards after their thumping victory over Harlequins. Director of rugby Mark McCall believes his side can have no complaints after failing to match their intensity from The Showdown.

“Last week, we saw when everyone was at it and engaged, what we are capable of,” he said. “There are some who were at it and some who were a little bit off and, against a good team like Northampton, you pay for that.

“We showed some grit in both halves, to fight back from 17-0 down and from 27-13 to 27-20. We were in the game but never really felt we had control of it.

“Overall, it’s a good lesson for us that if we want to do what we want to do, we have got to have everyone right at it. I don’t know (how crucial the try bonus point will be), but we showed some grit and skill at the end to get an unlikely point from it.

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“But I wouldn’t want that to get away from our disappointment at setting ourselves a target of stepping up a level today and I don’t think we achieved that.”

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2 Comments
F
Flankly 106 days ago

Probably means “can't overestimate”, or “shouldn’t underestimate”. Something needs to be pretty bad if you can’t underestimate it.

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