INFLUENTIAL back rower Phil Dowson believes there is no reason why newly-promoted Worcester Warriors cannot stun his former employers Northampton Saints at Sixways on Friday.
Saints will be heavy favourites to win the season opener, which will screened on BT Sport, having finished top of the Aviva Premiership last season.
But Dowson, who had a successul six-year spell at Northampton before moving to Warriors this summer, said his new side have got what it takes to upset the visitors.
“There is huge potential in this squad and the young players are very ambitious,” Dowson said.
“It is short on experience at Premiership level, but at the same time more hungry and right on edge in terms of what they want to prove.
“So I don’t see why we can’t beat a team who finished top of the league on day one.
“No team is unbeatable, but they are a good side and that is a challenge for us and something which has focused our minds throughout pre-season.”
Dowson said he was offered the chance to remain at Franklin’s Gardens, where he made 179 appearances and won the Premiership and the European Challenge Cup in 2014.
However, the 34-year-old, who has made seven England appearances, said he felt he needed a new challenge and believed Warriors was the right place to extend his career.
“Although opportunities were limited at Northampton I still felt I had something to offer there, but the coaches said the chances were I would probably play less this year,” he said.
“They also only offered me one year whereas Worcester offered me two years and physically I feel I have definitely got two years left, if not more, so I just felt that I was not getting a fair crack of the whip.
“It was a difficult decision as I felt such a part of the Northampton squad and Worcester were in the Championship at the time so there was a risk there.
“But, at the same time, whether they got up or stayed down, the plan was still the same and that was to make Worcester a Premiership club and a very successful one at that.”