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Match Reaction: Harlequins 20 Northampton Saints 9

John Kingston made sure he paid tribute to Harlequins unsung heroes after his side restricted Northampton Saints to just three penalties in a 20-9 Aviva Premiership Rugby victory.

Alofa Alofa scored the only try of the game in the first half, before an assured performance from the tee from replacement fly-half Tim Swiel saw Quins stretch their lead after the interval.

It was a first win over Saints in eight matches in all competitions for Harlequins, and moved them up above Jim Mallinder’s men into eighth in the Aviva Premiership standings.

And while a swashbuckling performance from young tighthead Kyle Sinckler saw him named man-of-the-match, Kingston also singled out Marland Yarde and Adam Jones for their titanic performances.

“For me, Adam Jones was unbelievable because he didn’t realise he was going to be coming on until very early this morning when Joe [Marler] failed his test,” Kingston explained.

“As a consequence, he was into the deep end on the other side of the scrum. It’s a testament to him that he answered that. For me, he was my man of the match.

“[Yarde] was also absolutely terrific. The season started a little bit slowly for him. He had a couple of knocks but the last couple of weeks he’s been fantastic.

“I’ve got a huge amount of time for him. He puts everything into his training and everything into his play. He was outstanding today.

“There were a few home truths earlier in the week. We weren’t happy with the way we defended in certain ways last Sunday.

“With those addressed, you could see a really energised group of people determined to put things right this afternoon.”

Stephen Myler’s three penalties moved him above Jonny Wilkinson into fifth in the all-time Aviva Premiership’s points scorers list, but Jim Mallinder admitted there was little to smile about for his side in south-west London.

The margin could have been even greater had Nick Evans found his range from the tee in the first half, and Mallinder was frustrated with Northampton’s lack of potency in attack.

“It was a poor performance from us today,” he said.

“We talked about coming here and controlling the game away from home, playing in the right parts of the field and keeping our discipline. We didn’t achieve any of those today.

“I think we always knew we would be up against a fired-up Harlequins side. They like to play a fairly loose game, get the ball wide and they do that very well.

“We knew what was coming. I thought we defended pretty well for long periods. Some of our defence was outstanding. It was in attack where the frustrations were for me.

“We couldn’t keep hold of the ball. We were turning over the ball after one or two phases and could never get into pattern or shape.”

 

Harlequins: Brown, Yarde, Alofa, Roberts (Marchant 9-15), Visser, Evans (Swiel 40), K Dickson, Lambert (Jones 4), Buchanan (Gray 76), Sinckler (Collier 70), Merrick (Twomey 73), Horwill, Robshaw, Wallace, Chisholm (Luamanu 73)

Replacement not used: Mulchrone

 

Northampton Saints: Tuala (Foden 60), K Pisi, G Pisi, Burrell, North, Myler (Olver 74), Groom (L Dickson 51), A Waller (E Waller 69), Haywood (Clare 74), Brookes (Hill 56), Lawes, Paterson (Dickinson 73), Wood, Clark (Picamoles 53), Harrison

 

Harlequins

Tries: Alofa

Penalties: Evans, Swiel 4

 

Northampton Saints

Penalties: Myler 3

 

Referee: Ian Tempest

Attendance: 14,500

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