10th May, 2021

Retired Premiership veteran Dowson reflects on career

Aaron Wise 10th May, 2017

RETIRED back row Phil Dowson insisted he could have continued playing rugby for an additional year, but admitted he would just be ‘keeping the wolf from the door’.

The Aviva Premiership veteran, who has featured 262 times in the competition, will return to Northampton Saints as an assistant coach this summer where he spent six years before his arrival at Sixways in 2015.

The 35-year-old, who has made 38 appearances for Warriors and has been called upon to skipper the side on a number of occasions, admitted some of his career highlights were with the Sixways side.

“I’ve had a lot of messages sent to me from players at Northampton, Newcastle and Warriors which has been very touching,” said Dowson.

“I’d love to continue playing rugby, but when you get to 35-years-old and have an opportunity to coach you have to make the decision on how you’re feeling. I could play another year but it’s getting harder and harder to recover.

“There has to be a time where the opportunity outweighs the enjoyment. It’s great when you’re signing three-year contracts at the age of 22, but for me to sign an additional 12-month contract would just be keeping the wolf from the door for one more year.

“I’ve actually had the beautiful option of choosing when to retire, rather than being told by a surgeon over a desk that it’s time to cut my losses. I’ve been very fortunate.

“There’s a lot of very good people at the club and I’ll always keep my eyes on the Worcester fixtures whist I’m at Saints.

“Our first game against Northampton last season when we won the match with the last kick of the game will always be a career highlight. The period of time last season when we won four wins on the bounce for the first time ever was special too,” he added.

Dowson has become the Premiership’s joint-second most capped player, sitting level on appearances with the retired George Chuter on 262, and just three caps behind Steve Borthwick on 265.

But the Guildford-born player, who also made more than 120 appearances for Newcastle Falcons, admitted Premiership caps do not faze him.

“If you would of offered more than 200 Premiership appearances to an 18-year-old Phil Dowson I would have taken it,” he said.

“But if it was all about individual records you would become a tennis player, golfer or an athlete. I would swap a fair number of those Premiership caps for international caps and trophies.

“It’s not about how often you’re playing on the field, it’s what you do on the field to win trophies,” he added.

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