Northampton Saints march on over Harlequins

Northampton Saints smothered Harlequins for a 24-3 Aviva Premiership Rugby victory at Franklins Gardens on Friday evening.



Northampton were clearly the better team on the day and laid down a marker for visiting teams that have matches ahead of them at Franklins Gardens.

Harlequins who were missing Nick Evans for the match remain on top of the Aviva Premiership but the result means that Saracens will have the opportunity to close in on Quins on Sunday this weekend although they will not be able to overtake them.


England fullback Ben Foden used the match as an opportunity to impress new England caretaker coach Stuart Lancaster who was in the stands when he beat his rivale for the England shirt Mike Brown to score the first of the Saints two tries.

Northampton turned in a dominant display in front of another full-house at
Franklin’s Gardens to inflict Harlequins’ second defeat of the English domestic
season.

Saints were much smarter and more physical at the breakdown than the visitors
and a number of Harlequins will now be sweating about being called up for England.
.

Two Ryan Lamb penalties handed Saints a 6-0 lead and that would have been extended
further had Tom Williams’ timely intervention not prevented Tom Wood gathering
in Samu Manoa’s pass for the first try.

But Saints did score when Ben Foden fended off full-back rival Mike Brown to
go over in the right-hand corner for a well-taken try.

A strong run from Chris Robshaw set up the platform for Harlequins’ first and
only points of the night which came through a Rory Clegg penalty.

But Lamb kicked a drop goal shortly after Nick Easter returned from the sin-bin
to hand Saints a 17-3 interval lead.

Saints safely negotiated a sin-binning of their own as they continued to boss
the second half, and their only disappointment would have been their inability
to score more than the one try they managed after the break.

That came from number eight Roger Wilson when the Irishman strolled over the
line after Lee Dickson, another strong performer on the night, got quick ball
away from the base of the ruck to find Lamb whose distribution skills did the
rest.

Lamb landed the conversion to put the final nail in the coffin of league leaders
Harlequins.

Man of the match was won by Samu Manoa.

Final Score Northampton 24 (17) Harlequins 3 (3)


Scorers


Northampton Saints
Tries: Foden, Wilson
Penalties: Lamb 3
Drop-goals: Lamb
Conversions: Lamb


Harlequins
Penalties: Clegg


Referee: Dave Pearson (157th Premiership game)


Man of the match : Samu Manoa


Teams


Harlequins:


15. Mike Brown , 14. Tom Williams , 13. Matt Hopper , 12. Jordan Turner-Hall , 11. Ugo Monye , 10. Rory Clegg , 9. Danny Care , 1. Joe Marler , 2. Chris Brooker , 3. James Johnston , 4. Olly Kohn , 5. George Robson , 6. Chris Robshaw (c) , 7. Luke Wallace , 8. Nick Easter


Replacements:16. Joe Gray , 17. Mark Lambert , 18. Tim Fairbrother , 19. Tomas Vallejos , 20. Tom Guest , 21. Richard Bolt , 22. Benjamin Urdapilleta , 23. Sam Smith ,


Northampton Saints


15 Ben Foden , 14 Chris Ashton , 13 George Pisi , 12 James Downey , 11 Noah Cato , 10 Ryan Lamb , 9 Lee Dickson , 1 Soane Tonga’uiha , 2 Dylan Hartley (capt) , 3 Paul Doran Jones , 4 Samu Manoa , 5 Mark Sorenson , 6 Phil Dowson , 7 Tom Wood , 8 Roger Wilson


Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood , 17 Alex Waller , 18 Brian Mujati , 19 Christian Day , 20 Ben Nutley , 21 Martin Roberts , 22 Stephen Myler , 23 Tom May

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