‘It’s feasible’ – Northampton Saints eye sensational silverware double as quarter-finals loom

Dylan Coetzee
Premiership Phil Dowson Pat Lam Records tumbled at Ashton Gate on Friday evening as Northampton Saints fell to their heaviest defeat in the Premiership, as Bristol Bears claimed a 62-8 victory.

Northampton Saints boss Phil Dowson.

Northampton Saints boss Phil Dowson insists his side can fight for silverware on two fronts after the team marched into the Investec Champions Cup quarter-finals thanks to a 24-14 win over Munster.

The victory in a frenetic game, inspired by a brilliant George Hendy double, adds to a growing list of positives with the side leading the Premiership as well.

Looks to be happy about

Saints are quickly becoming the team to beat with their impressive mixture of youth and experience looking incredibly balanced.

Dowson, despite admitting the fight is on two fronts, says they must keep their feet on the ground.

“I think it’s feasible, but we have to keep our feet on the ground,” said Dowson.

“One of the things we’ve been blessed with is the competition within the squad. We’ve had a lot of players contributing and we left a lot of players out this week who were unlucky not to be involved.

“As we pick up bits and pieces we need to rest and rotate. It gets heavy but we’d rather be in this situation than not.”

Hendy magic

The clash against Munster was a huge battle locked at 14-14 for a long period of time with both teams landing blows in the game. That was until Hendy took matters into his own hands with two outstanding finishes.

“We’re delighted. It’s the first time we’ve been in the knockout phase of Europe for quite some time,” Dowson said.

“We knew the levels would go up, we knew the threat Munster posed and how hard they would come out of the blocks after what happened over there. We coped with that and managed to get our game on to the pitch in the second half.

“George had a good pre-season and started the season really well. Then he had a frustrating injury.

“The more he plays, the better he gets and he had a huge contribution today. He’s a freak of an athlete.”

English prodigy’s stunning double downs injury-hit Munster and takes Northampton Saints into the Champions Cup quarter-finals

Illness

The Munster camp was riddled with illness heading into the game which did not help matters, but skipper Tadhg Beirne refused to make excuses.

“People get sick, that’s part of life. You just get on with it,” Beirne said.

“That happens in team environments where we’re scrumming down against each other and all that kind of stuff.

“Lads are going to pick up bugs but that’s not the reason we lost. We went out there, went toe to toe with Saints, they just got the upper hand. We’ll have to take that on the chin.

“It was a battle. You saw in the first half how tight it was and even in the second half, the game was on a knife edge for the majority of it.

“We go from having them in their 22 to all of a sudden they’re scoring. It’s moments like that we’ll look back on and be very frustrated with.

“But I can’t fault the lads’ effort. It was certainly a battle but we came out on the wrong side of it.”

READ MORE: Investec Champions Cup: Quarter-final ties, times and dates revealed