Phil Dowson insists it felt almost as though Jamie Gibson had never been away from Franklin’s Gardens after the flanker returned to training at Northampton Saints a fortnight ago.
Gibson initially left the Club at the end of June at the conclusion of his contract, but made a rapid return as injury cover, with Tom Wood ruled out of contact training for a number of weeks following a diagnosis of a pulmonary embolism last month.
He has been back at Franklin’s Gardens since late June, and forwards coach Dowson is delighted that Saints got him signed up again before another club secured his services.
“We’re still in the same season and if he’d been playing for a different club it would have been weird,” Dowson said.
“It’s great to have him back in the environment and he got plenty of stick from the boys for missing the running section of pre-season.”Phil Dowson, Forwards Coach
“It’s almost as if he’s never been away. He joined training and straight away he seemed in really good form.
“He’s got a young family and spent a long time in lockdown with his boys, so he really enjoyed that.
“It was just cruel luck that led to him not being kept on in the first place. We all wanted to keep him, and I think he was keen to stay – we were in the middle of negotiations when the coronavirus pandemic happened.
“So it’s been a bit of a weird process with Jamie but he’s a bright lad and he understands the situation.
“Regardless of whatever else has happened, the one thing you can be sure of is that whenever he is playing he’ll be full on and giving everything.”
Gibson’s presence continues to prove vital in driving standards at Saints.
Dowson explained; “From a personal point of view, Gibbo is very experienced and very bright so what he’ll do is challenge me – he says, ‘why don’t we do this, why don’t we do that?’
“He’ll fire a lot of ideas at me, and it makes me then have to really be clear on what I want.
“He thinks of different ways of doing stuff and he’s really good for the coaching staff in terms of how we want to play the game.
“So Gibbo’s great for the environment in terms of those questions he asks of the coaches.”