Harlequins swept aside all before them at Franklin’s Gardens in Group C of the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series on Friday night, but Howard Packman stole the show by sending hosts Northampton Saints through to the Ricoh Arena final as runners-up.
With Sam Aspland-Robinson and England 7s player Cam Cowell leading from the front, Harlequins secured bonus points in all three of their games – including a 42-17 win over Premiership Rugby champions Saracens to condemn them to bottom spot on the night.
But in a straight shoot-out for the all-important runners-up position, 2013 and 2014 champions Gloucester Rugby were pipped by the hosts, as Packman’s brilliant four tries saw them book their place in Coventry on August 7.
Saints, cheered on by a vocal home crowd of 10,022, were beaten 29-19 by Harlequins in their opening game but bounced back from that disappointment to record a 24-17 win over Saracens.
Earlier, Gloucester had taken the first win of the evening as a late Mat Protheroe try gave the Cherry & Whites a 26-19 win over Sarries, who earned a losing bonus point in a tightly-fought contest.
But they too were out-classed by Harlequins, with Cowell scoring twice in a 31-0 victory for the south-west Londoners before James Lang grabbed a hat-trick to down Saracens in the penultimate game of the night.
That result meant it would be winner-take-all between Northampton and Gloucester, and while the Cherry & Whites shot out of the blocks through Elliot Creed and Harry Randall, they were pegged back by Howard Packman’s sensational hat-trick.
Creed scored once more but was sin-binned to set-up a grandstand finish, and Packman immediately raced through for his fourth before Alex Rayment delivered the coup de grace in a 27-17 win.
The results see Harlequins take on final hosts Wasps in their quarter-final, while Saints will face Group B winners Exeter Chiefs first up at the Ricoh Arena.
Eight teams will play for the first silverware of the season in the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series Finals from 2pm at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry on Sunday 7 August. Click here for tickets
Gloucester Rugby 26 (Protheroe, Halaifonua, Randall, Thomas)
Saracens 19 (Morris, Crossdale, Earl)
Harlequins 29 (Aspland-Robinson, Lang, Ibitoye, Hirskyj-Douglas, Mikalcius)
Northampton Saints 19 (Emery, Packman, Ludlam)
Gloucester Rugby 10 (Hudson, Protheroe)
Harlequins 31 (Mikalcius 2, Cowell 2, Lang)
Northampton Saints 24 (Collins 2, Grayson, Olver)
Saracens 17 (Haylor, Earl, Sirker )
Harlequins 42 (Lang 3, Aspland-Robinson, Cheeseman, Nairn)
Saracens 17 (Forster, Gilksten, Sirker)
Gloucester Rugby 17 (Creed 2, Randall)
Northampton Saints 27 (Packman 4, Rayment)