Dowson – We must finish strongly

Phil Dowson insists Warriors need to finish the season strongly ahead of their clash with local rivals Wasps at Sixways this Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

Warriors secured top-flight status following four consecutive wins in March before falling to high-flying Exeter Chiefs the last time out. 

But experienced flanker Dowson believes the work is far from over this season, as Warriors prepare to face three of the league’s top four in Wasps, Leicester Tigers and Saracens, who are also European Challenge Cup semi-finalists.

He said: “We want to finish as high as possible and show that we’re competing with the best in the league and some of the best in Europe. 

“We need to prove ourselves again and again and it’ll bleed into pre-season and effect the way we start next season if we can finish strongly and give the fans something to shout about, especially at home.”

Warriors slipped to defeat at Wasps earlier in the season despite leading with just a couple of minutes left on the clock, but England international Dowson says his side don’t need any extra motivation when they take on their West Midlands rivals this weekend.

He explained: “No extra motivation is needed. We’re at home against a top side and we need to show our mettle. 

“Wasps are the form team in the league with their attacking threats, playing some unbelievable rugby. 

“Our defence against Exeter wasn’t up to scratch so it’s a big work-on for us this week. We need to take time and space away from their dangerous men. 

“Defence is about getting off the line, making shots and making sure guys like Nathan Hughes and James Haskell aren’t getting yards around the fringes and the Piutau brothers and Rob Miller have been playing well so we’ll have to work hard.”

After a ten-week period of Aviva Premiership games, Dowson admitted it was nice to have a short break without a gameweek following an intense spell for Dean Ryan’s side.

He added: “Playing ten games on the bounce is a big ask. It takes it out of you mentally and physically. 

“There was an element of fatigue so a week off from action last week was just what we needed and now we’re fresh and ready for this final run in.” 

Tickets are still available for Saturday's game by clicking here, calling 01905 459309 or visiting the Ticket Office.