Harlequins clinch key win over Northampton

Date published: October 8 2016

Harlequins climbed back up the table after an important 20-9 win over Northampton Saints at The Stoop on Saturday.

Alofa Alofa’'s first Harlequins try ensured they recorded a 20-9 victory in front of a sell-out crowd.

Looking to preserve their 100 percent home start, Harlequins came into this one also searching for their first victory over Saints since May 2013, seven games ago.

The hosts should have opened the scoring within three minutes, only for Nick Evans to miss a relatively straight forward penalty. He made amends a minute later though, kicking his side into a three point advantage.

The Quins fly-half wasn't in fine form in the opening 10 though, missing a second kick and squandering a possible 9-0 lead. But it was a dominating start aside from the kicking though, and there early possession brought the first try.

Evans was again at the heart of the action, dodging challenges before ball was released out to Alofa, who claimed his first Harlequins try. Evans missed the subsequent two pointer, leaving it at 8-0.

Alofa thought he had doubled his tally soon after, only to be denied by the official who had seen an infringement in the build-up. But Saints stopped the rot and got themselves on the board through Myler, finishing off a long passage of play with a penalty.

Myler cut the gap to two, with the frantic start slowing into a more reserved next 20 minutes. It was the turn of the Saints number ten to lose his accuracy though, missing two penalties that would have put the visitors in front at the break. He saw one effort cannon off the post, with the other flying wide.

Tim Swiel took over kicking duties after the restart and immediately made it a five-point lead with a routine penalty, in another all-action start.

The Stoop faithful thought their side had got try number two after Luke Wallace crossed the line. Kyle Sinckler’'s barraging run saw him cover a lot of ground, with Wallace adding the finishing touches. But the TMO deemed that there was an obstruction in the build-up, drawing the ire of players and supporters.

However Quins were much the better side in the second 40, and another Swiel penalty on the hour mark made it 14-6, leaving Saints with it all to do.

Myler put through another three pointer for Saints, their first points of the second half, to again put Northampton within a converted try of taking the lead. But a lineout produced another penalty, Swiel hammering through the posts and creating a 17-9 lead that Saints were unable to catch.

The replacement put further gloss on the scoreline with three more, ensuring Quins made it three home wins on the spin.

The scorers:

For Harlequins:
Try: Alofa
Pens: Evans, Swiel 4

For Northampton:
Pens: Myler 3

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Alofa Alofa, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Karl Dickson, 8 James Chisholm, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 George Merrick, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Rob Buchanan, 1 Mark Lambert
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Adam Jones, 18 Will Collier, 19 Sam Twomey, 20 Mat Luamanu, 21 Charlie Mulchrone, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 Joe Marchant

Northampton: 15 Ahsee Tuala, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 George North, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Teimana Harrison, 7 Calum Clark, 6 Tom Wood (c), 5 Michael Paterson, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Sam Dickinson, 20 Louis Picamoles, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 Sam Olver, 23 Ben Foden

Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant Referees: Paul Burton, Ross Campbell
TMO: David Sainsbury