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Loss another scar to add, but Saints will be better for it

REACTION: Northampton Saints’ Director of Rugby Phil Dowson is “incredibly proud” of his side despite their 17-20 loss to Leinster in their Champions Cup semifinal at Croke Park on Saturday.

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Dawson said that Saints gave themselves “too much to do” in their first Champions Cup semifinal since 2011 and their first half inaccuracies cost them.

“We were not accurate enough in the first half and we gave a very good side a 17-point head start,” Dowson told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“They shut us down at the set-piece efficiently and we couldn’t get the ball away from the breakdown quickly so our attack was stilted.

“This is the first European semi we have been in for some time against a very good Leinster defence and we made some uncharacteristic errors.

“Those things are going to happen but there were a lot of them, but we stuck at it and gave ourselves a chance.”

Northampton’s Dowson says he was “frustrated” his side were unable to impose themselves.

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“Our defence, our collisions, and our effort were outstanding and that allowed us to still be in the game.

“It speaks volumes of the group and it’s clear how invested the players are in each other.

“In the second half, we slowly reeled them back in but we didn’t have enough.”

Saints will now focus on the Premiership and endeavor to secure a home semifinal and learn from the mistakes they made in their defeat against Leinster.

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“We knew where we had to be at an emotional and technical level,” he said.

“We weren’t quite there on a technical point of view but we are in a really good place emotionally.

“The quality of our consistency this season has been based on loads of bitter experiences in previous years – away at Saracens [in 2022] and in the Premiership semifinal defeat at Leicester.

“This is another scar to add to it, but one we will be better for.”

 

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