Northampton Saints’ coach Phil Dowson believes the sky’s the limit for Fraser Dingwall, with the young centre catching the eye in last weekend’s derby triumph over Leicester Tigers.
The men in Black, Green and Gold wrapped up their third straight win at the home of their East Midlands rivals courtesy of Dingwall’s superb try 15 minutes from time, after Tom Collins had added to David Ribbans’ first-half double to bring Saints within touching distance.
“Fraser’s got huge potential, but he’s also a good leader and has a mature head off the field too.”Phil Dowson, forwards coach
Dingwall made 113 metres and four clean breaks in seven carries against Leicester, beating three defenders along the way and providing the intercept and assist for Collins’ momentum-switching score – enough to be named as one of the Premiership Rugby Cup’s breakthrough players for round four.
And after missing a large chunk of last season with an ankle injury, forwards coach Dowson insists the 20-year-old’s superb work ethic and experience captaining England’s under-20s at last summer’s Junior World Championship in Argentina over the summer is paying off in style.
“Fraser has definitely benefitted from going away to the World Championship with the under-20s,” he said.
“He’s seen all the top players for his age now both nationally and internationally, and I think he ranks right up there with the very best of them.
“He’s got huge potential, but he’s also a good leader and has a mature head off the field too, so he’s somebody I really enjoy coaching. He’s great to have around the environment.”
Having now beaten rivals Leicester in five of their last six meetings in all competitions, a first win of the 2019/20 season allowed Saints to end their Premiership Rugby Cup campaign on a high note heading into next weekend’s Gallagher Premiership opener.
Northampton will be desperate to build on last season’s fourth-place finish in the league, but face a challenging opening assignment at the home of two-time reigning champions Saracens.
“Every game we play is winnable – we’ll go down to Sarries and give it everything we have.”Phil Dowson, forwards coach
He said: “It’s unbelievable to win three in a row at Welford Road because throughout my playing career there weren’t many happy memories there.
“I’m delighted for the players who dug in throughout the second half and it really set us up well to kick on into this week.
“There’s always going to be periods of time in games where you’re under the cosh and under pressure, but I thought we weathered the storm really well against Leicester and I know during the game a lot of the talk between the lads was very positive.
“Having conceded over 50 points the week before, defence was a big focus and we wanted to get away from the breakdown and bring some line speed – if you do that you can create some more pressure.
“We weren’t short on confidence before the win; we played well in patches over the last few weeks, but what we’d really spoken about was being more consistent and putting a full-game performance together.
“We showed really good composure and a high level of concentration throughout the game which gave us that opportunity to go and win it, and we’re going to need that and more against Saracens this weekend.
“Every game we play is winnable – I will always say that; because we’ve got a great group in this changing room, some unbelievable players, and coaches that are hungry for success. So I’m excited to see what we can do, we’ll go down to Sarries and give it everything we have.”