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Preview: Northampton Saints v Harlequins

Preview: Northampton Saints v Harlequins

Winger Jamie Elliott is already eyeing up a home semi-final for Northampton Saints, adamant victory against Harlequins will go a long way to propelling his team towards that goal.

The Saints are the best team in the Aviva Premiership on current form, having dropped just four points from a possible 30.

Northampton have lost just one of their last nine Aviva Premiership games at Franklin's Gardens, an 8-36 reverse to Leicester Tigers on March 30, all of which leaves them sitting second on 43 points.

While they are three points behind league leaders Saracens Elliott and co are already nine ahead of third-placed Bath Rugby and 11 ahead of Friday night’s opponents Harlequins.

And Elliott is convinced victory against Quins will go a long way to booking Saints a home semi-final spot despite only half of the season having passed.

“We know what Quins can do to teams if you let them play,” he said.

“So for us the goal is, first and foremost, to stamp our authority on the game, to make an impression and not let them play.

“If we can do that then we will be in good shape, we know what a good chance this is to stretch the gap away from the other teams.

“That has to be our goal and the lads are looking forward to it.”

Harlequins arrive at Franklin’s Gardens in fine form themselves having lost just one of their last six outings, this coming at Bath on December 21.

They have also not lost successive away games in the Aviva Premiership since visiting Saracens and Gloucester back in March and Nick Evans isn’t about to let that record end any time soon.

"The season goes up and down. You are going to have blips along the way – every team goes through it," he added.

"I'm almost a perfectionist – I take a lot of pride in how I play. Sometimes you have got to work hard when things aren't going your way and I have been really pleased so far.

"It is just all about me doing my job and hopefully everyone else does theirs and we get that buzz that we have at Quins. It is a tight group of guys that have a lot of fun. We really enjoy playing the style that we play and we get a lot of joy out of it." 

(Franklin’s Gardens, 7.45pm)
Referee: Greg Garner (58th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Paul Dix & Paul Burton. TMO: David Grashoff.
Live on BT Sport

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