Harlequins fell to a 40-22 defeat at the hands of Northampton Saints on a wet night at Franklin’s Gardens.
A great break from Aaron Morris, who spotted the gap in the Saints defence in the opening minutes, led to a penalty after Saints struggled to keep their players on side. Marcus Smith got early points on the board to give Quins a 0-3 lead after three minutes.
But only three minutes later, Northampton responded after powerful winger Taqele Naiyaravoro used his strength to drive across the line. James Grayson missed the conversion, as the sides continued the game 5-3.
10 minutes in, referee JP Doyle called upon the TMO after Saints powered their way to the line again, with number eight and Saints captain Teimana Harrison touching the loose ball down, despite a valiant effort from Ibitoye to force the error from Saints. The try was given, and following Grayson’s conversion, Saints took a 12-3 lead.
Saints extended their lead to 15-3 four minutes later, through the boot of Grayson who added the three after Quins were penalised for being offside. Soon after, the home side were back on the board after intercepting a Quins pass and their number 11 Naiyaravoro touched down in the corner again, seeing Saints take a 22-3 lead with 12 minutes remaining of the first half.
With eight minutes left on the clock in the first 40, it was a sad end to the match for Ben Tapuai who was helped off the field by Quins’ medics, and late replacement Cadan Murley entered the field and slotted in at 13, with Marchant moving to inside centre.
After 37 minutes, Saints secured their bonus point try with hooker Mikey Haywood crossing the line, after a strong maul from the home side. But Quins showed determination to fight back right until the whistle, after a beautiful cross field kick from Marcus Smith found the hands of Travis Ismaiel who nearly crossed the line, but the referee pulled play back for a Quins penalty.
Quins piled pressure on Northampton and eventually Cadan Murley crossed the line to give the away side their first try of the match. Marcus Smith’s missed conversion saw the sides enter the break at 27-8.
The side came out the blocks firing at all cylinders, putting the Saints defence under immense pressure, tuning over possession and forcing errors.
A beautiful run on the 55th minute from Aaron Morris gained some serious ground for Quins, who crossed the line for the first score of the second half, with Club Captain Chris Robshaw scoring his first try of the season. Marcus Smith’s conversion narrowed the gap to 27-15.
Looking for a Quick response, Northampton fly half James Grayson added three points with a drop goal, giving the hosts a 15 point lead and 20 minutes still to play. Grayson followed up with another three after a penalty two minutes later to give Saints a 33-15 advantage.
There was a second try of the game for Saints’ number eight Harrison with 15 minutes remaining, successfully converted by Grayson giving Northampton the 40-15 lead.
A resilient Quins side proved that the game wasn’t by any means over, with Cadan Murley scoring his second of the match with six minutes left on the clock. Brett Herron added the two as Quins brought their points tally up to 22.
Despite a much-improved showing in the second half, it wasn’t to be for Quins, who will be looking to turn it around at The Stoop on Saturday 9 November against Worcester Warriors. Tickets are still available here.