Guinness Premiership
Dowson puts England hopes on hold
Huw Baines
May 5, 2010
Northampton's Phil Dowson hands off Gloucester's Peter Buxton, Northampton v Gloucester, Anglo-Welsh Cup Final, Sixways, Worcester, England, March 21, 2010
Northampton flanker Phil Dowson has put his England hopes on hold © Getty Images

Northampton flanker Phil Dowson has put aside any thoughts of a possible England call-up as the Saints chase a place in the Guinness Premiership Final.

The combative back-rower has been in sparkling form this season but is yet to make the step up to Test level, having captained the England Saxons in 2009.

With England set for a two-Test series against Australia in June this year on a tour also taking in midweek games against the Australian Barbarians and New Zealand Maori, Dowson, able to cover all three back-row positions, will no doubt be in the thoughts of the team management. But despite this the former Newcastle skipper will not deviate from his desire to bring success to Franklin's Gardens.

"It's probably not suitable to target the England tour but rather make sure that I'm playing well and I'm sorting out the roles that I'm doing with the coaches," he told ESPNscrum. "If [Saxons coach] Stuart Lancaster or [England forwards coach] John Wells gave me a call I'd be keen as mustard to go along. At the moment I'm concentrating on getting the best out of myself for the Saints."

Northampton can book a home Premiership semi-final against Saracens if they overcome London Irish in Reading this weekend, which would be a major boost given their impressive home record. However, it was Saracens who brought an end to the Saints' 100% home record a fortnight ago and that game followed another agonising one-point loss for Jim Mallinder's side at the hands of Bath.

"It's a huge game," Dowson said. "We know what a classy attacking side Irish are and with our last two results we've lost by a couple of points. We need to get back on track for the end of the season and build a bit of momentum going into the play-offs.

"We've lost one game at home this year and it would be a massive fillip for us to play at home. That's something that's in our hands. We know that's the target and what we're going for but at the end of the day we need to go to Reading and put a performance together to put away those last two defeats and get over them."

Phil Dowson was speaking to promote Gatorade Gives Back. To get involved in Gatorade Gives Back, simply collect codes shown on each bottle of Gatorade and enter them via mobile or online through to accumulate points on an individual basis for prizes or as a team for monetary rewards

Huw Baines is the Assistant Editor of ESPNscrum.

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