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Northampton

Northampton

Saints start year in style

03rd January 2014 21:40

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Northampton moved provisionally top of the Aviva Premiership table after beating Harlequins 23-9 on Friday.

Second-half tries from George North and Dylan Hartley lit up a game which was dominated by the packs, as the Saints picked up a vital win.

Northampton are top, for a day at least, and will take confidence from the fact that they have now beaten the other three teams in the play-offs so far this season.

Quins could drop out of the top four if Leicester pick up a win on Saturday afternoon, as they left Franklin's Gardens without a losing bonus-point.

The Saints looked to dominate the early proceedings, building up 12 phases in the Harlequins 22 before winning a penalty which Stephen Myler slotted from in front of the posts.

Nick Evans was on hand to cancel out the hosts' lead, with three points taken from Quins' first foray into the opposition half.

After the early points, chances were at a premium for both sides until midway through the half.

Harlequins were inches away from scoring the first try of the night, camping on the Saints line for a sustained period, with Chris Robshaw going close before they eventually settled for three points.

Myler's leveller on the stroke of half time kept the game tightly balanced with a 6-6 half time score.

The game needed North's try to create the first major cheer of the night. After bouncing off Charlie Walker, The Welsh international was given a free run to the corner which he gleefully took to dive over. Myler's super conversion added the icing to the cake.

Myler appeared to be struggling with an injured foot though, and showed signs of struggling when he missed one of the easier kicks he will ever be given, skewing wide from close range.

Ben Botica's three pointer had the game on a knife edge with just four points separating the two teams going into the last 15 minutes.

Former league man Myler bounced back from his earlier miss soon after as Northampton edged closer to victory.

Hartley's try with ten minutes left put some gloss on the scoreline, and starved Harlequins of a bonus point. The England man was in the right place in the right time when Quins failed to retain possession despite looking to have stolen a lineout.

The scorers:

For Northampton:
Tries: North, Hartley
Con: Myler 2
Pen: Myler 3

For Harlequins:
Pen: Evans 2, Botica

Northampton: 15 Tom Collins, 14 Jamie Elliott, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 George North, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Samu Manoa, 7 Phil Dowson, 6 Calum Clark, 5 Christian Day 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 1 Alex Wakker.
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Tom Mercey, 19 Sam Dickinson, 20 Tom Wood, 21 Kahn Fotuali'i, 22 Glenn Dickson, 23 Fa'atoina Autagavaia.

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Charlie Walker, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Tim Molenaar, 11 Sam Smith, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Karl Dickson, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Tom Guest, 5 George Robson, 4 Charlie Matthews, 3 Will Collier, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Max Crumpton, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Paul Doran Jones, 19 Nick Kennedy, 20 Joe Trayfoot, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Ollie Lindsay-Hague.

Referee: Greg Garner
Assistant referees: Paul Dix, Paul Burton
Television match official: David Grashoff

  • Northampton Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 30
London Welsh vs Northampton14:30
Saturday , December 20
Northampton vs Leicester15:00
Saturday , December 27
Harlequins vs Northampton15:00
Saturday , January 3
Northampton vs Newcastle15:00
Saturday , January 10
Sale vs Northampton14:00
Saturday , February 14
Northampton vs London Irish15:00
Saturday , February 21
Bath vs Northampton15:00
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European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , December 6
Benetton Treviso vs Northampton13:00
Saturday , December 13
Northampton vs Benetton Treviso15:15
Saturday , January 17
Ospreys vs NorthamptonTBC
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  • Northampton Results
Recent Results
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Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
Friday , November 14
Northampton 18 - 24 ExeterNorthampton vs Exeter Report
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LV= Cup
Friday , November 7
Scarlets 7 - 24 Northampton
Saturday , November 1
Northampton 37 - 23 Newcastle
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European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , October 25
Northampton 34 - 6 Ospreys
Saturday , October 18
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 Northampton
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Aviva Premiership
Saturday , October 11
Northampton 43 - 10 Sale Sharks
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  • Table
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821