Planet Rugby

Saints drawn into relegation fight

17th February 2007 16:53

Share:

Ben Cohen; Mel Deane Northampton v Harlequins

Ben Cohen on the charge

Northampton Saints look like they will spend the rest of the season battling for survival after going down 15-28 to Harlequins in the Guinness Premiership on Saturday.

Despite the return of Carlos Spencer and Bruce Reihana Saints slipped to their fifth straight Premiership defeat, largely thanks to the boot of Quins fly-half Adrian Jarvis.

Jarvis kicked three second-half penalties to wrap up his side's sixth in seven games to keep alive their play-off hopes.

The return of Spencer and Reihana will be a timely boost for the Saints who are only four points clear of fellow strugglers Worcester.

Quins had also been in trouble at the bottom before a run of five straight wins lifted them up the table.

That run came to an end in a previous game at Bath and Quins were aiming to complete a double over Saints having grabbed their first Premiership win this season against them in November.

But they had not won in Northampton for almost a decade and suffered a setback inside the opening two minutes when Stuart Abbott had to be replaced after a collision.

Quins still went ahead in the fourth minute when scrum-half Andy Gomarsall charged down Carlos Spencer's kick to cross and Adrian Jarvis added the extras.

Jarvis missed a 10th-minute penalty and Northampton struggled to find a way back. They looked bereft of confidence having scored only 45 points in their previous five Premiership games and lost possession on the three occasions they got deep into Quins territory inside the opening quarter.

Tempers reached boiling point midway through the first half when Saints lock Christian Short and Quins skipper Paul Volley were yellow carded for fighting.

Saints winger Ben Cohen then appeared to push over one of the touch judges during another clash near the touchline before Northampton claimed their first points after 27 minutes when number eight Paul Tupai was driven over in the corner after a five metre line-out.

Spencer missed the conversion and that meant Quins led 7-5 at the break.

Saints got the second-half off to the perfect start. Cohen beat David Strettle to Jarvis' re-start and set off on a rampaging run down the middle of the pitch. He shrugged off the attentions of Ugo Monye to crash over between the posts. Reihana added a conversion to put Saints in front 12-7 but the joy was short-lived.

Quins got the ball wide soon after the re-start and Strettle side-stepped Cohen to cross in the corner for his seventh try of the season after 46 minutes.

Jarvis missed the conversion and that meant the scores remained tied at 12-12.

Saints suffered another blow when Darren Fox was yellow carded after 53 minutes as Jarvis kicked the resulting penalty.

He added another from 45 metres after 61 minutes to open up a six-point lead for the visitors that was pegged back to three by Reihana's penalty six minutes later.

Northampton then gifted the visitors chance to re-establish a six point lead. A push on volley led to a penalty that Jarvis belted over to make it 21-15 with nine minutes left.

There was no way back for Northampton from there and Steve So'oialo grabbed a third try for Quins in the dying moments. Jarvis added the conversion.

The scorers:

For Northampton:

Tries: Tupai, Cohen

Con: Reihana

Pen: Reihana

For Harlequins:

Tries: Gomarsall, Strettle, So'oialo

Cons: Jarvis 2

Pens: Jarvis 3

Yellow cards: Short (21, Northampton), Volley (21, Harlequins), Fox (53, Northampton)

Northampton Saints: 15 Bruce Reihana (c), 14 Sean Lamont, 13 Robbie Kydd, 12 David Quinlan, 11 Ben Cohen, 10 Carlos Spencer, 9 Mark Robinson, 8 Paul Tupai, 7 Darren Fox, 6 Alex Rae, 5 Christian Short, 4 Damien Browne, 3 Pat Barnard, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Tom Smith

Replacements: 16 Matias Cortese, 17 Soane Tonga'uiha, 18 Matt Lord, 19 Ben Lewitt, 20 Johnny Howard, 21 Stephen Myler, 22 Matthieu Bourret

NEC Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 David Strettle, 13 Mel Deane, 12 Stuart Abbott, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Adrian Jarvis, 8 Nick Easter, 9 Andy Gomarsall, 7 Paul Volley (c), 6 Andre Vos, 5 Nicolas Spanghero, 4 Ollie Kohn, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Tani Fuga, 1 Aston Croall

Replacements: 16 Jimmy Richards, 17 Ricky Nebbett, 18 Jim Evans, 19 Chris Hala'Ufia, 20 Steve So'oialo, 21 Tom Williams, 22 Hal Luscombe

Referee: Dave Pearson

Touch judges: Peter Huckle, Don Helme

Coach: Clive Leeke

Television match official: Andfrew Turner

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 5
Northampton vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 6
Saracens vs Wasps14:00
Sale vs Bath14:00
Leicester vs Newcastle15:00
London Irish vs Harlequins16:30
Sunday , September 7
London Welsh vs Exeter14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 6
New Zealand vs Argentina08:35
Australia vs South Africa11:05
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 5
Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso19:35
Munster vs Edinburgh19:35
Saturday , September 6
Scarlets vs Ulster14:40
Connacht vs Newport Gwent D'gons17:00
Glasgow vs Leinster17:15
Sunday , September 7
Zebre vs Cardiff Blues17:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 5
Montpellier vs Castres20:45
Saturday , September 6
Brive vs Toulouse14:45
Clermont Auvergne vs Racing Metro Paris17:00
Lyon vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Bayonne18:30
Grenoble vs La Rochelle18:30
Toulon vs Bordeaux-Begles20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 5
Western Province vs Eastern Province Kings19:10
Saturday , September 6
Cheetahs vs Pumas15:00
Sharks vs Griquas17:05
Blue Bulls vs Lions19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki 41 - 3 Bay Of PlentyTaranaki vs Bay Of Plenty Report
Auckland 16 - 16 TasmanAuckland vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle 37 - 25 ToulouseLa Rochelle vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 33 - 6 Stade Francais
Castres 30 - 6 BayonneCastres vs Bayonne Report
Racing Metro Paris 17 - 10 ToulonRacing Metro Paris vs Toulon Report
Lyon 24 - 6 Brive
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 25 - 36 CheetahsGriquas vs Cheetahs Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 41 LionsEastern Province Kings vs Lions Report
Blue Bulls 18 - 23 Western ProvinceBlue Bulls vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Counties Manukau 21 - 27 Hawkes BayCounties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay Report
Southland 22 - 33 Otago
North Harbour 16 - 22 WaikatoNorth Harbour vs Waikato Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne 20 - 21 MontpellierClermont Auvergne vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 32 - 22 SharksPumas vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Wellington 21 - 27 ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Report
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury 48 - 3 NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Report
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
Argentina 31 - 33 South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00