Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Northampton strive to regain home comforts

Revenge in Dublin does not even begin to atone for Northampton's Franklin's Gardens humbling at the hands of Leinster, according to flanker Phil Dowson.

Northampton slumped to a chastening 40-7 Heineken Cup home defeat to Leinster on December 7, only to power to an 18-9 victory a week later in the return fixture at the Aviva Stadium.

The Saints host Bath in Aviva Premiership action today, keen to build on last weekend's nervy 17-15 win at Wasps.

Dowson admits that six-try home defeat to two-time Heineken Cup champions Leinster will stick in Saints' psyche for some time to come.

"We've still got to atone for that home defeat to Leinster and most certainly the manner of it," said the 32-year-old.

"That just wasn't good enough, not for our standards and certainly not for the expectations and demands of the supporters, let alone what they deserve.

"So the important thing is to hit back and get our home form back on track. But that will be a huge challenge against what is now an extremely physical and dangerous Bath side."

Northampton's punishing drive to victory in Dublin last weekend drained Jim Mallinder's men as much mentally as physically.

While the Saints were unhappy with their performance at Adams Park, Dowson said there remained much credit in grinding out victory given the expected drop-off after that taxing Leinster trip.

He said: "It was always going to be tough at Wasps to handle the drop in emotion and intensity that was always going to follow that result at Leinster.

"So that was a massive challenge, for us to control an almost inevitable drop-off. And sometimes you've just got to take the result however it comes.

"We managed to get the win and in some ways that can be just as important to our season as winning at Leinster."