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“We weren’t at it defensively”-Phil Dowson reflects on Harlequins defeat

Phil Dowson has said his side ‘weren’t quite at it defensively’ in their 41-32 loss to Harlequins this afternoon. 

Northampton struggled to contain Quins’ free-flowing attack, which saw them conceded six tries.

Speaking to the media after the game, Dowson said: “We weren’t quite at it defensively. It didn’t feel like us, it didn’t look like us. We’ve got to drill down into why that was from a coaching point of view and make sure that we’re a whole heap better next week.

He added: “Conceding 40 points, I hope that’s not us. Quins exposed us in those areas and they’re probably things that we’ll have to be better at.”

It wasn’t just the defence where Dowson feels Quins got the better of his side. Three Harlequins yellow cards could have condemned the Londoners to defeat; however Northampton failed to make this count.

“I thought they defended particularly well,” said Dowson. “They took some time out of the game when they were down to 14, which they were for half an hour.

He added: “We didn’t convert any of that pressure and conversely when we gave penalties away they stuck it in the corner and they converted their opportunities. Fundamentally for me is the difference.”

Northampton now prepare for a huge Champions Cup semi-final against Leinster next weekend. With such a big game on the horizon, it could have potentially taken the focus off of this game, however Dowson said he doesn’t think that is the case.

“I hope not because today’s encounter was at Twickenham in front of 60,000. Quins were desperate to win and they’ve got a great record here. There’s loads of things that I felt we could really hang a hat on from an emotional point of view.”

“Karl’s had a good look at it”-Phil Dowson on controversial call

Phil Dowson-Credit: IMAGO

In the 60th minute, Harlequins scrum-half Danny Care escaped a second yellow card in controversial fashion following a clear-out on Alex Mitchell. The incident also denied Northampton Saints a clear attacking opportunity too.

Speaking on the decision to not send Care off, Dowson said: “Karl’s had a good look at it, TMO’s had a good look at it, I think several times, they took plenty of time to look at it and if they felt that wasn’t a second yellow, then it’s not.”

Care had already been sent to the sin-bin in the first-half for a high tackle on Courtney Lawes.