Foden try wins it for Saints

Date published: February 6 2016

A last-minute try from full-back Ben Foden helped Northampton Saints beat Harlequins 27-23 at the Twickenham Stoop on Saturday.

Two tries apiece in the first-half set the game up for an entertaining second period, but both sides were limited to penalties for the most part.

However, with the clock in the red, Quins threw away their three point lead, with superb work from Foden capitalising on a defensive mistake, and he dummied his way through to give Saints a much needed victory, which pushes them into the top half of the table.

Saints looked as though they had the perfect start, but the TMO ruled out a potential try. From the resulting scrum however, Harry Mallinder won a penalty, which was duly dispatched by Stephen Myler.

The lead was shortlived, with George Merrick crashing over eight minutes in. Captain Nick Evans converted, despite the heavy wind, to give the hosts a 7-3 lead.

The opening period took another turn when, after missing a penalty, Myler converted a wonderfully-worked try for the visitors, with Ken Pisi feeding in Christian Day to score between the posts. Jim Mallinder's team now held a 10-7 advantage.

The wind was making it difficult for both sides to add to what had been an enthralling opening quarter, but a breakaway from Ross Chisholm after strong defensive play from his teammates resulted in the scoreline swinging back in the host's favour. Evans added the extras for a 14-10 lead.

Not to be outdone, Saints retook the lead, this time through Luther Burrell who received the ball from Mallinder before reaching the line. Myler converted, and Saints had the lead once more, at 17-14.

The hosts were dealt a further blow on the stroke of half-time, with Tito Tebaldi sent to the sin bin for a deliberate knock on.

Quins started the second-half well despite being a man down, and turned the game on its head with two penalties, Evans successful with both kicks, making it 20-17.

Chances became few and far between afterwards, but after referee Greg Garner showed a yellow card to Northampton's Tom Wood, fellow Saint JJ Hanrahan was able to level up from a penalty.

Quins responded almost immediately, with Ben Botica's penalty, awarded for the opposition holding on, restoring the three point advantage, 23-20.

Saints were awarded a penalty late on, and decided to go for broke, and it was worth it. Foden took advantage of the Quins defence failing to clear, and took the ball over the line for the victory. Hanrahan added the extras to complete a memorable game.

The scorers:

For Harlequins:
Tries: Merrick, Chisholm
Con: Evans 2
Pen: Evans 2, Botica

For Northampton:
Tries: Day, Burrell, Foden
Con: Myler 2, Hanrahan
Pen: Myler, Hanrahan

Harlequins: 15 Ross Chisholm, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Harry Sloan, 11 Charlie Walker, 10 Nick Evans (c), 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Mat Luamanu, 5 James Horwill, 4 George Merrick, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Rob Buchanan, 1 Mark Lambert
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Owen Evans, 18 Will Collier, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Dave Ward, 21 Calum Waters, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Tim Swiel

Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 Harry Mallinder, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson (c), 8 Sam Dickinson, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Christian Day, 4 James Craig, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Reece Marshall, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Victor Matfield, 20 Teimana Harrison, 21 Tom Kessell, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 James Wilson

Referee: Gregory Garner
Assistant Referees: Roger Baileff, Roy Maybank
TMO: Rowan Kitt