Dowson seeks home comforts
Revenge in Dublin does not even begin to atone for Northampton's Franklin's Gardens humbling at the hands of Leinster, according to flanker Phil Dowson.
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Northampton slumped to a chastening 40-7 Heineken Cup home defeat to Leinster on December 7, only to power to an 18-9 victory a week later in the return fixture at the Aviva Stadium.
The Saints host Bath in Aviva Premiership action on Saturday, keen to build on last weekend's nervy 17-15 win at Wasps.
Dowson admits that six-try home defeat to two-time Heineken Cup champions Leinster will stick in Saints' psyche for some time to come.
"We've still got to atone for that home defeat to Leinster and most certainly the manner of it," the 32-year-old said.
"That just wasn't good enough, not for our standards and certainly not for the expectations and demands of the supporters, let alone what they deserve.
"So the important thing is to hit back and get our home form back on track.
"But that will be a huge challenge against what is now an extremely physical and dangerous Bath side."
Northampton's punishing drive to victory in Dublin last weekend drained Jim Mallinder's men as much mentally as physically, Dowson admitted.
While the Saints were unhappy with their performance at Adams Park, Dowson said there remained much credit in grinding out victory given the expected drop-off after that taxing Leinster trip.
He said: "It was always going to be tough at Wasps to handle the drop in emotion and intensity that was always going to follow that result at Leinster.
"So that was a massive challenge, for us to control an almost inevitable drop-off.
"And sometimes you've just got to take the result however it comes.
"We managed to get the win and in some ways that can be just as important to our season as winning at Leinster.
"You've got to be able to manage those peaks and troughs in emotion and intensity, and build your game accordingly almost.
"We can get better at that admittedly, but coming through from last week will give the whole squad a lot of confidence for an extremely testing Christmas run now."
Northampton can end 2013 second in the Premiership with victory over third-placed Bath and Dowson said that would represent a solid return for the first half of the season.
Last term's beaten Premiership finalists have their eyes firmly on the title this time and Dowson admitted any progress to date will only be considered tentative.
He said: "I'd say we're reasonably satisfied with where we are at the turn of the year to be honest.
"It's a good platform for us to attack the second half of the season. But the hard work is certainly ahead of us.
"They (Bath) have definitely beefed up their pack in the last couple of years, so they have a massive set of forwards.
"But they are dangerous moving the ball wide as well, so it only increased the attraction of playing against them and meeting that challenge to be honest."