Guinness Premiership
Dowson looking beyond Bristol clash
Scrum.com
February 11, 2009
Phil Dowson of Newcastle Falcons passes the ball out during the Premiership match between Newcastle Falcons and Sale Sharks at Kingston Park in Newcastle, England on September 7, 2008.
Newcastle skipper Phil Dowson is looking beyond his side's crunch tie with Bristol © Getty Images
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Newcastle Falcons skipper Phil Dowson has attempted to play down the significance of Friday's Guinness Premiership meeting with fellow relegation strugglers Bristol. The game has been hailed as a relegation decider by many given the respective plights of the two clubs.

Bristol currently sit bottom of the pile, with nine points, while the Falcons are seven ahead on 16. A win for Dowson's men could land a heavy blow to Bristol boss Richard Hill and company, but the No.8 is adamant that the Bristol game is just as important as any other.

"It's just as important as any other game," he said. "Lose any one of them and we're back in the relegation mix. We know that's the situation, but it's the same next week against Saracens and again the week after at Northampton. There's plenty of confidence among the boys that we can go down to Bristol and win this one, but the reality is that it doesn't mean we're safe if we win and it doesn't mean we're down if we lose.

"We're not happy just with avoiding relegation, we want to push up the table and a win on Friday can really keep that process going after our victory over Gloucester last time out. The table is so condensed with everyone beating everyone else, so if you get a few wins you're right back in the mix for better things."

Dowson has little time for sweating over the Premiership table, instead concerning himself with motivating his side ahead of a vital few weeks.

"All I'm worried about is the Newcastle team, making sure the boys are switched on, focused and breathing fire come 8pm on Friday," he said. "We know we have a job to do, it will be a passionate and fiery encounter, but we're ready for that.

"Despite their league position Bristol are a side with a load of talented players, and we'll be giving them our absolute full respect. "It hasn't happened for them in terms of results this season, which is something we've also experienced ourselves, and when you're under pressure like both teams are it's a case of do you pull together or fall apart. All we can influence is what we do ourselves, so all of our focus is just on getting our own game in order and performing on the night, we'll let Bristol worry about Bristol.

"I spent a week in the Saxons with Ed Barnes, who is a quality player, and they have guys like David Lemi and Jason Hobson who are also top competitors. They have a huge amount of talent, we're very aware of that and it makes it all the more exciting to be going down in to their back yard and taking them on."

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