Northampton Saints: Phil Dowson satisfied with autumn form

Phil Dowson
Phil Dowson took over as Saints captain while hooker Dylan Hartley was with England

Forward Phil Dowson has said that Northampton Saints can be satisfied with their results during the autumn international period.

Saints have won four of their last five matches and still top the Premiership.

Dowson, 33, told BBC Radio Northampton: "We wanted to win five and I thought that was realistic. For 40 minutes against Exeter we weren't at the races.

"We're top of the table and still in Europe and the LV= Cup. If you said that to Dylan Hartley, he'd take that."

Dowson added: "But we'd have loved to have our unbeaten home record. We set very high standards."

Saints have beaten last season's Premiership finalists Saracens, won two games in their LV= Cup pool and hammered London Welsh despite players such as Hartley, Courtney Lawes, Tom Wood, George North, Ken Pisi and Kahn Fotuali'i being away with their national sides.

Northampton face European Rugby Champions Cup games against Treviso next, and Dowson says it would be wrong to assume they can turn the Italian side over easily, having had to battle to a narrow win in 2009.

"We went there saying we needed a bonus point, and we only just managed to win the game," he said.

"People are saying Treviso aren't doing too well, so you should go there and get a bonus point. But let's just win every game.

"We know what we have to do, and I think everyone knows, after we didn't get a bonus point against Racing, but we're not putting any targets on it, especially not in the media."