Saturday, 30th September 2017 @ 15:00
Kick off 19:45
Kick off 13:00
Kick off 13:00
Kick off 15:00
Kick off 17:30
A late Stephen Myler penalty denied Harlequins a losing bonus point as the Londoners fell 30-22 away at Franklin’s Gardens.
An Aaron Morris intercept try, and a late Jamie Roberts score, helped Quins stay within touching distance, 19-15, at the break after largely being out played for much of the first spell.
Northampton Saints extended their lead further in the second half but they could never put the match to rest as Quins hung on. A late Dave Ward try closed the gap to five with Quins eyeing a possible bonus point, smash and grab win but they couldn’t find the crucial fourth score.
Myler’s late penalty from the bench instead sealed the 30-22 win for Saints who now move top of the table while Quins head back south point-less.
Following the win over Wasps a fortnight ago Harlequins travelled to Northampton hoping their recent poor away record was coming to an end. However due to injuries John Kingston was forced to name an inexperienced line up as five players from last weekend’s match against Leicester Tigers also joined the extensive injury list.
At Franklin’s Gardens it was the home side who started out on top and they scored first when a darting run by Nic Groom gave them an attacking line out which set up George North to go over following the driving maul.
With Saints searching for their second, Harlequins fullback Aaron Morris snatched an intercept and cantered in from 80 metres to give his side a 5-7 lead.
It was one of the few bright spots of the opening quarter for Quins as the home side dominated territory and were rewarded with a seven pointer to Tom Collins who broke clear on goal from a line out 35 metres out.
Marcus Smith cut the deficit to two points with a penalty in the 35th minute, but Mikey Haywood extended it again with another try right under the posts as Quins’ missed tackle counted added up.
Trailing 19-10 Smith drifted a second penalty attempt wide but only a handful of phases later Jamie Roberts found space in the corner to cross for his first try of the season. It would take the scores to 19-15 as Quins headed into the break outplayed but knowing a solid second half performance could see them leave with four points.
It was the worst possible start however as turnover ball led to a Saint’s chip over the top and fullback Ahsee Tuala latched on to it and had the pace to score.
With 50 minutes gone Harry Mallinder kicked a penalty to make it 27-15 and it became an uphill battle for Quins to secure anything from the encounter.
They continued to show grit and determination throughout and with an hour gone a number of replacements joined the fray as Dave Lewis, Dino Lamb and Phil Swainston all made their debuts in the Quins colours. It was the former who made the biggest impact.
The scrumhalf snatched two overthrown line outs to get his side onto the attack, and following a free kick, he tapped and went quickly to set up Dave Ward for their third try. Smith added the extras and the lead was down to five, with a bonus point try perhaps also on offer.
Quins maintained the majority of possession for the final ten minutes but in a disjointed match they couldn’t make it count. While their line out had got them back into the encounter their scrum cost them dearly in the end. A handful of penalties at scrum time, the latter of which resulted in Myler’s penalty that sealed the 30-22 win for Saints (they’re ninth in their last ten fixtures again the Londoners).
A disappointing result for the short-handed Quins team as the win sees them drop to ninth on the league table. Next up is the visit of Sale Sharks next Friday 6th October (kick-off 19:45) ahead of the opening round of European rugby the following week.