Dowes Aware of Rising Stakes and Temperatures in Super League


Ewan Dowes believes league position and current form will count for nothing on Saturday as Hull FC cross the whitewash at The Stoop to face relegation threatened Harlequins RL.

Third place meets ninth at 3pm on Saturday, July 22nd in the capital and the Hull players are well aware of the test that awaits them against a side desperate to kick clear of the drop zone.

Dowes said: "At this stage of the season every club has something to play for, it doesn't matter that we are at the top end of the table and they are closer to the bottom. They will be fighting for every point just as much as we will, everyone must be ready for that. It's always a tough game against them, Quins have had their fair share of injuries this season and they can be a real challenge on their day. Obviously they have a new coach so the players will be looking to impress him."

The fixture gives Ewan another opportunity to play at one of his favourite stadiums, the hard working prop represented Cumbria in Rugby League and also England Schools in Rugby Union. "The Stoop is always somewhere I enjoy playing as an ex-Rugby Union player, it's a famous Union ground and it's in the backdrop of Twickenham so it's pretty special."

Record temperatures are expected on the afternoon game and Dowes says it's crucial that the visiting players deal with weather.

"It's going to be really tough playing in London in the heat and we'll be taking plenty of fluid on board, we've won twice in high temperatures in France so we will be prepared for the conditions, it'll probably be similar."

Ewan joined Hull FC on loan from Leeds Rhinos midway through the 2003 season and his form has earned him an improved contract which will keep him at The KC Stadium until 2008. The only player to play in every game last season, he scored 2 tries and earned himself four Man of the Match Awards.

An injury in an early season defeat at home to Harlequins interrupted his season, but he has been in fine form once again for The Black and Whites and can count himself unfortunate to miss out on The Great Britain training squad who meet today at Edge Hill College in Ormskirk (Wednesday).

Dowes is a player with a terrific attitude and focus, Ewan represented England in the 2004 European Nations Cup. A hernia operation during the 2005 off season prevented his representative commitments.

He was dearly missed as Hull FC went down to Harlequins RL in February (round 4), he was taken off injured and missed he next two fixtures.

"I pulled my hamstring again after about 15 minutes in that game a period out after playing every game last season.  It was a tough start to the season for me as I had just come back from a hernia operation and it took me least five or six games to get back to top fitness to be playing where I wanted to be."

Dowes added: "All the players and coaches really enjoy having to lift ourselves every week, because we know we have to so that we can get the results. Because we are winning ever week we are enjoying training and enjoying playing rugby, it all starts to come together. The morale and the team spirit are up and it is the highest I've ever seen."

Hull FC 20 Man squad to face Harlequins RL

The Squad is:

Shaun Briscoe
Nathan Blacklock
Gareth Carvell
Chris Chester
Paul Cooke
Sid Domic
Ewan Dowes
Kirk Dixon
Liam Higgins
Graeme Horne
Richard Horne
Paul King
Tommy Lee
Shayne Mcmenemy
Lee Radford
Richard Swain
Motu Tony
Danny Washbrook
Scott Wheeldon
Richard Whiting