Dowson swaps home comforts for new Garden

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The Independent Online

Newcastle Falcons skipper Phil Dowson today claimed his move to Northampton Saints will make him a better player.

The England Saxons back rower, who has spent his entire career at Newcastle Falcons to date and skippered the side for the last two seasons, has signed a two-year deal with the Franklin’s Gardens outfit.

Dowson said his previous linkup with coaches Jim Mallinder and Dorian West was a big factor in his decision to move.

“I’d heard nothing but positive things about the Saints, which were backed up when I came to look around the club,” said Dowson. “I’d worked with Jim and Dorian with the Saxons and they have put together a solid foundation at Franklin’s Gardens for a bright future.

“This season Saints have had good cup runs and achieved positive results in the league. The coaches are making the club stronger all the time and over the next few years they I want to help the Saints push up the Guinness Premiership and hopefully yield some silverware.

“They have an exciting style of play and with plenty of good back row players there will be considerable competition for places which will hopefully improve my game too. But it will be an opportunity for me to play with the other outstanding players at the club like Bruce Reihana and Ben Foden.

“Obviously after so many years at the Falcons it will be a big wrench to leave Kingston Park. But I need to get out of my comfort zone and develop as a player and this move to Northampton will do that. I’m looking forward to it.”

Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder said: “Phil is an exciting signing for us as we build for next year.

“We only want players who will push for first team places and Phil will certainly do that. The back row is a vital area of the game and Phil’s knowhow, skills and physicality will complement the players we have here already superbly.

“His leadership skills are excellent, as I know all too well from working with him during the 2007 Churchill Cup. We want leaders at the club who will represent us well on and off the field and Phil is one such man. I’m looking forward to working with him at Franklin’s Gardens next season.”