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Northampton Saints moved into the Aviva Premiership top four by beating Harlequins 29-23 at Franklins Gardens.
Northampton Saints earned a bonus point from the match as they outscored Harlequins by four tries to two.
Saints scored two first-half tries through forward pair Alex Waller and Courtney Lawes. Quins’ only try of the first 40 came from Tim Visser, with Ben Botica kicking eight points.
Harlequins’ only try of the second-half came from Jack Clifford, with Botica converting.
But two further tries for Northampton from Harry Mallinder and Ben Foden, as well as seven points from Stephen Myler, was enough to secure the win.
Despite Harlequins opening the scoring with an early Botica penalty, it was the home side who crossed the line first. Neat hands from the Saints backline led to loosehead prop Waller crashing over from close range.
With Myler failing to add the extras, a second Botica penalty for Harlequins restored their lead.
A second try for Northampton came just after the 20 minute mark. England man Lawes peeled off a ruck to cross the line unopposed.
Quins responded through Scottish international Visser. The winger found some space in the Saints defensive line to cross under the posts for his seventh league try of the season. Botica’s conversion gave Conor O’Shea’s men a 13-12 lead going into half time.
Harlequins’ momentum continued into the second half. England international Clifford handed off Kieran Brookes and sprinted in from 40 metres to score.
A penalty from Myler calmed the nerves in Franklin’s Gardens and kept the home side within five points.
A try from Foden levelled the scores, and Myler’s subsequent conversion gave Jim Mallinder’s men a 22-20 lead. The England full-back fended off the attempted tackles from the Quins defence to cross in the corner to the delight of the home crowd.
Saints secured the bonus point in the final ten minutes when Mallinder crossed in the corner after a wonderful team move from the home side.
A late Botica penalty brought Quins to within six points with 90 seconds left on the clock. The away side were unable to add to their score, and the win sees Northampton move into the top four.
Final Score Northampton Saints 29 (12) Harlequins 23 (12)
Tries – Waller, Lawes, Foden, Mallinder
Pen – Myler
Con – Myler 3
Tries – Visser, Clifford
Pen – Botica 3
Con – Botica 2
Referee :Tim Wigglesworth (105th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Wayne Falla & Paul Burton.
TMO: Graham Hughes.
15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 George North, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson (c), 8 Teimana Harrison, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 James Craig, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Reece Marshall, 17 Campese Ma’afu, 18 Paul Hill, 19. Victor Matfield , 20 Sam Dickinson, 21 Kahn Fotuali’i, 22 JJ Harrahan, 23 Harry Mallinder
15. Mike Brown , 14. Charlie Walker , 13. Joe Marchant , 12. Jamie Roberts , 11. Tim Visser , 10. Ben Botica , 9. Danny Care (C) , 1. Joe Marler , 2. Joe Gray , 3. Will Collier , 4. George Merrick , 5. James Horwill , 6. Jack Clifford , 7. Luke Wallace , 8. Nick Easter
Replacements 16. Dave Ward , 17. Mark Lambert , 18. Kyle Sinckler , 19. Mat Luamanu , 20. Chris Robshaw , 21. Karl Dickson , 22. Matt Hopper , 23. Ross Chisholm
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