Friday, 2nd February 2018 @ 22:00
Kick off 14:30
Kick off 15:00
Kick off 13:00
Kick off 19:45
Kick off 15:00
Five tries from a dominant Northampton Saints saw the Franklin's Gardens side comfortably defeat Harlequins in the final pool match of the 2017/18 Anglo-Welsh Cup.
Four tries in 24 minutes saw Saints race into a 26-5 lead at half-time with a further try from Ken Pisi 13 minutes from time wrapping up the 36-10 win.
Tries from Mark Lambert and Joe Marchant at the end of each half proved nothing more than a consolation for the visitors who will now have to wait for the result in tomorrow's contest between Exeter Chiefs and Saracens to see if they will go any further in the competition.
Earlier, Harlequins arrived at Franklin's Garden knowing just one point from the match would see the Londoners host a Semi-Final in this year's competition. Harlequins welcomed back club captain James Horwill into the starting line up as well as Alofa Alofa into the backline.
Like they would do for the majority of the match, Alan Gaffney's side dominated possession in the opening spells. Within five minutes there was no obvious grounding for the hosts after a TMO review but just two minutes later, Saints had their first try of the match. Their wave of pressure finally paid off when Saints went left and Mikey Haywood's quick hands played in George North to dash over the line.
One try turned to two just six minutes later when the opportunistic Jamie Gibson intercepted Dave Lewis' pass to dart downfield. His side eventually found numbers at pace to the left with Tom Stephenson popping up to score.
As the half went on Quins continued to spend time in their own 22, before a clinical 180 seconds from Saints blew Harlequins away.
With a scrum metres out, scrum-half Cobus Reinach decided to break and go right to Ahsee Tuala. The elusive fullback stepped and got himself over. With Piers Francis knocking over all three conversions, Saints led 21-0.
Shortly after and Ken Pisi secured the bonus point for Saints. David Ribbans pinned his ears back to head down the right touchline to offload smartly for Pisi to gather. With a step similar to Tuala, the winger got himself over for Saints' fourth.
Five minutes from the half-time whistle and Harlequins finally got an obvious chance in the Saints 22. Opting to go through the forwards with pick and go drives, Mark Lambert was eventually the one to get over for the score.
With Lang missing the conversion, Harlequins trailed 26-5 at half-time.
Into the second half and 26-5 soon became 29-5 when replacement Sam Twomey was whistled for being offside and Francis stuck over the easy three points.
Harlequins looked in for their second try shortly after when the impressive James Chisholm broke down the midfield with his brother Ross inside of him. The younger Chisholm brother was hauled down, Saints infringed but the hosts escaped from the following line out.
Saints almost had their fifth a number of minutes later when Stephen Myler and Gibson linked up well down the right hand side. Good work from Alofa however held up Saints. The hosts weren't to be denied their fifth though and Pisi scored his second of the contest when he received the ball from the scrum and stepped and wriggled to get himself over the line.
With a 31-point lead in tow, Quins did get their second of the night when Joe Marchant received the ball on the left hand side metres out, however the score proved too little too late; the match finishing 36-10.
Harlequins will now have to wait and discover their future in the tournament as Saints secured their place in the final four.
Harlequins return to The Stoop on Sunday 11th February when they host Wasps in the Aviva Premiership (kick-off 13:00). Tickets are available to purchase online or by calling the Ticket Office on 020 8410 6010.
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|Team (Pool 4)||PLD||W||D||L||F||A||TF||TA||TB||LB||PTS|