Fixtures - Top Bar

Match Reaction: Harlequins 25 Northampton Saints 30

Director of rugby Jim Mallinder admitted production not possession was all that mattered as Northampton Saints kept themselves top of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table with a 30-25 defeat of Harlequins.

Saints, second ahead of kick-off for Big Game 7 at a sold out Twickenham after Bath Rugby’s defeat of Exeter Chiefs, conceded the majority of possession to Quins but were defensively strong and clinical when it mattered.

Samu Manoa, off to French giants Toulon at the end of the season, scored one and set up George North for another while Kahn Fotuali’i’s 72nd-minute score proved decisive for Saints.

That’s because Jack Clifford and replacement Sam Twomey rallied for Quins late in the second half with tries after George Lowe had started and finished off a sweeping move to give them a sixth-minute lead.

Stephen Myler converted all three of Northampton’s tries as well as kicking three penalties while Tim Swiel slotted two and two with Mallinder brushing aside the statistics stacked in Quins’ favour.

“It was very hard fought and, fair play to Harlequins, they attacked us for a full 80 minutes and in the first half defensively we were put under pressure and missed too many tackles,” he said.

“But that is sometimes what happens when you are on the back foot. Harlequins ran really well and fortunately in the second half our set piece got on top, we didn’t play too much but we kicked into the corner and kept things tight.

“Sometimes when you go away from home you don’t have to pay too much rugby and it is not all about how much ball you get, it is really what you do with it and that was our message at half-time.

“Even though we weren’t happy with the performance, we knew we were in the lead and we knew we had a strong bench to come on and that was always going to help us in the second half.”

Meanwhile Quins director of rugby Conor O’Shea is adamant if his team continue to put in performances like the one at Twickenham they won’t find themselves down in eighth for too much longer.

“That was a massive statement, we wanted the guys to go out and play and they did. I thought the mentality and strength to come back when we conceded and still be going at the end was magnificent,” he said.

“We had ten minutes when we were really under the pump but defended our line magnificently and then kept on going. We know we have got an enormous mountain to climb in the league.

“But if we play like that we will win a lot of games of rugby and the belief will start flowing back. I am much happier than I have been on many, many occasions.

“There is huge frustration because you can point to all the little things that happened like the body blow after half-time with the charge down but if we play like that and have that ambition and mental strength will win a lot of games.”
 
Harlequins: Brown; Yarde, Hopper, Lowe, Monye (Chisholm R 67); Swiel, Care; Lambert, Ward (Gray 67), Collier; Matthews, Robson (Twomey 63); Trayfoot, Clifford (Chisholm J 77), Easter
Replacements: Marfo, Sinckler, Dickson, Casson
 
Northampton Saints: Foden; Pisi K, Pisi G (Stephenson 48), Burrell, North; Myler, Dickson (Fotuali’i 54 (Wilson 72)); Waller (Corbisiero 54), Haywood, Ma'afu (Denman 60); Dickinson, Day; Clark (Dowson 60), Wood, Manoa
Replacements: McMillan, Nutley
 
Scorers
 
Harlequins
Tries: Lowe, Clifford, Twomey
Conversions: Swiel 2
Penalties: Swiel 2
 
Northampton Saints
Tries: Manoa, North, Fotuali’i
Conversions: Myler 3
Penalties: Myler 3
 
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Attendance: 82,000

Latest News

Fitzgerald confident Leicester Tigers can go all the way to Aviva Premiership Rugby Final

Leicester Tigers’ Mike Fitzgerald admits it’s been a tricky year for the club on and off the pitch but is…

Sale Sharks’ Denny Solomona licking his lips at chance to join England ranks

Sale Sharks’ Denny Solomona admits he is relishing the chance to taste international rugby following his inclusion in England’s squad…

Mark Wilson out to help Newcastle Falcons to 15-year high

Having been at the forefront of their improved efforts this season, Mark Wilson is determined to help Newcastle Falcons to…

Mark Wilson

‘Time to pick up where we left off,’ says Wasps’ Matt Mullan ahead of Harlequins showdown

Matt Mullan has his fingers crossed that Wasps can tune back in to the momentum that has taken them to…

Worcester Warriors bring in Defence & Kicking Strategy Coach Omar Mouneimne

Worcester Warriors have recruited Omar Mouneimne as Defence & Kicking Strategy Coach. The South African, who has a wealth of…

Omar Mouneimne

Premiership Rugby dedicates this weekend to RPA’s #LiftTheWeight campaign

Premiership Rugby are dedicating all six Aviva Premiership Rugby matches this weekend to Restart Rugby, the official charity of the…

Lift the weight campaign

Ross Chisholm and Charlie Mulchrone commit to Harlequins

Harlequins is excited to confirm today (Wednesday 26th April) that Ross Chisholm and Charlie Mulchrone have re-signed for the Club.…

Ross Chisholm

Aviva Premiership Rugby on BT Sport and ITV Sport

After a break for European action, Aviva Premiership Rugby returns in full this weekend with plenty for the fans to…

O’Connell desperate to deliver for Bristol Rugby fans against Saracens

Bristol Rugby prop Jack O’Connell is delighted to have the opportunity to test himself against some of the best players…

Gary Gold to become Worcester Warriors’ permanent Director of Rugby

Worcester Warriors are delighted to announce that Gary Gold will become the Club’s permanent Director of Rugby after signing a…

Gary Gold

Round 21 Preview: Bath Rugby v Gloucester Rugby

Bath Rugby’s only victory in the last five rounds of Aviva Premiership Rugby was 27-21 over Leicester Tigers at Twickenham…

Bath v Gloucester

Round 21 Preview: Saracens v Bristol Rugby

Saracens have won their last five first team matches since their defeat to Leicester at Allianz Park in the semi-final…

Saracens v Bristol

Round 21 Preview: Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks

Leicester Tigers have suffered just two reversals in the last seven rounds of Aviva Premiership Rugby: at home to Exeter…

Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks

Round 21 Preview: Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints

Exeter Chiefs have won their last six matches in Aviva Premiership Rugby gaining a maximum 30 league points – no…

Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints

Round 21 Preview: Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors

Newcastle Falcons have won just one of their last five Aviva Premiership Rugby matches: 16-14 at home to Gloucester Rugby…

Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors

Round 21 Preview: Harlequins v Wasps

Harlequins have lost their last two Aviva Premiership Rugby matches, to Saracens and Exeter Chiefs, but have not lost three…

Harlequins v Wasps

Northampton Wanderers face Gloucester United in Aviva A League final

Northampton Wanderers will meet Gloucester United in the Aviva A League final on Monday 1 May (3pm) at Franklin's Gardens…

Ellis Genge agrees new contract terms at Leicester Tigers

England international prop Ellis Genge has agreed new contract terms at Leicester Tigers. Genge, 22, arrived at Tigers during the…

Ellis Genge

Billy Vunipola, Billy Burns, Ben Morgan and Francois Louw top the OPTA Rugby Rankings

Billy Vunipola was a force to be reckoned with as Saracens booked their place as Aviva Premiership Rugby’s representatives in…