Northampton Saints director of rugby Phil Dowson was thrilled with his side’s eagerness to ‘dig in’ as the men in Black, Green and Gold edged out Newcastle Falcons on Sunday.
The visit to Kingston Park was defined by the weather, with driving rain disrupting the play for most of the 80 minutes, but Saints ground out a hard-earned 16-14 victory to break their Gallagher Premiership duck.
“We had to dig in,” said Dowson. “We could have made it easier for ourselves when it came to discipline, but I thought our composure to stay on track was good, and we got what we deserved.
“Away from home, in conditions like that, you’ve got to stick in it and show some grit, and that’s what we did.”Phil Dowson
Saints had conceded ten penalties in the first half to Newcastle’s three, and Dowson emphasised that discipline was the main talking point at half-time.
He said: “Some of that [penalty count] comes from the scrum, and we will have to take a look at that to make sure we shore it up, because it gave them a foothold in the game.
“We also made sure we made better decisions around the breakdown in the second half, and were working a bit harder to gain more territory and put them under pressure, because traditionally when we get into the opponents’ half, we come away with points.”
Langdon’s second-half try was his second for the Club in his first seven games played since joining from Montpellier in the summer. Pearson set-up the score with his break and sumptuous offload out the back, and Dowson was impressed with the pair of new signings – who proved to be the difference in Newcastle.
“Curtis was excellent,” he added. “Combative and really good defensively in his collision and contact, and then to finish that try was a pretty decent effort.
“We spoke about how you’ve just got to stick in it, and there was going to be a point in time where somebody does something special. Tom Pearson makes a break, gets a great offload away, and Curtis finishes from 15 yards out and that’s all we needed to win the game.
“So, we didn’t need to go looking for anything else, we just had to make sure we executed in that place when the opportunity arose, and also make sure we were disciplined, tough in defence, and stuck to the plan.
“We always talk about performance, and that results come from our performance. Against Sale, we were pretty pleased as there were lots of good bits in that game, but we were disappointed with our performance against Bristol.
“We are happy with Sunday’s game because it showed we had some grit, some heart and got stuck in.”