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Phil Dowson wants Northampton Saints to focus after Leinster loss

Northampton Saints director of rugby Phil Dowson said he was left “disappointed” by their Champions Cup semi-final loss to Leinster, but wants his team to move on quickly.

James Lowe’s hat-trick of tries inspired the Irish side to a 20-17 win at Croke Park, despite Northampton reducing the score from 20-3 inside the last half hour.

The result means the Saints are left to focus on the Premiership, in which they lead Saracens at the top of the table by four points with two games remaining.

“When you get that close to something special and don’t quite get over the line was disappointing,” he said.

“I was really proud. Our defence and our hearts and our work-rate kept us in the game in the first half. We gave massive effort; we will be better for the experience. The lads were heartbroken at the end because they put so much into it.”

Saints host second-bottom side Gloucester on Saturday, and Dowson said he has challenged his players to forget the defeat by Leinster and refocus.

“It is about us not dwelling on it, learning from it, and taking the lessons forward. It is part of the sport; you have a crushing loss, but then you’ve got to make sure you prepare again and we’ve got a great group for that.”

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