Aviva Premiership: Phil Dowson to join Worcester Warriors
Northampton Saints flanker agrees two-year deal with Greene King IPA Championship club
Northampton Saints flanker Phil Dowson will join Worcester Warriors in the summer.
The 33-year-old England international was an integral part of the Saints’ Aviva Premiership and Amlin Challenge Cup-winning team last season and will add considerable experience to the Warriors.
Warriors are a club who have progressed rapidly behind the scenes in the last 18 months and they are clearly set for a very bright future, of which I am delighted to be a part of.
The Sixways club are slowly rebuilding after their disappointing 2013/14 campaign saw them drop down to the Greene King IPA Championship and sit top of the table having won 13 of their 14 matches so far this season.
But with only one club able to gain promotion, the Warriors face a huge battle for the remainder of the season with big-spending Bristol Rugby – under the leadership of former England and Scotland head coach Andy Robinson – also aiming for a Premiership return after losing last year’s final to London Welsh.
Dowson, who has played 179 times for the Franklin’s Gardens club and was also a centurion from his eight seasons at Newcastle Falcons before making the switch to the East Midlands in 2009, admitted he is delighted to be part of an ambitious team, despite recently holding out for a new contract with the Saints.
“The opportunity to join such a forward-thinking club as Warriors is certainly an exciting one and something I am immensely looking forward to,” Dowson said.
“Warriors are a club who have progressed rapidly behind the scenes in the last 18 months and they are clearly set for a very bright future, of which I am delighted to be a part of.”
A former Falcons captain, Dowson has also had stints as vice-captain and captain during his time at the Gardens and captained an England XV in an uncapped match against the Barbarians in addition to his seven caps won in 2012 as he played a part in England’s Six Nations campaign and two of their three matches in South Africa.
Warriors director of rugby Dean Ryan also expressed his delight at being able to attract a player of Downson’s ability to help guide his young squad.
“We are continuing to build a side which can progress season after season and to be able to attract a player of Phil’s calibre to be at the centre of that journey is a huge coup for the club,” Ryan said.
“Phil’s leadership qualities have been a crucial component of the success Northampton have experienced in recent seasons and his presence at Sixways will be huge for the development of this young side.”
Warriors also confirmed this morning that 23-year-old London Welsh flanker Carl Kirwan will join the club at the end of the season, but versatile forward Mike Williams will leave Sixways in the summer to join Leicester Tigers.