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Saints 36 Harlequins 10: Saints secure Anglo-Welsh semi-final berth

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

Northampton Saints secured their spot in the Anglo-Welsh Cup semi finals with a confident win over Harlequins.

The home side were quick grab the bonus point with four tries in the first half proving fatal to Quins, who before Friday's clash hadn’t dropped a single point in the competition.

Six tries ensured a thrilling night at the Gardens, with Ken Pisi crossing twice as well as George North, Tom Stephenson, and Ahsee Tuala.

Saints made an instant impact and came close to scoring within the first minute, only to be held up over the tryline, but the scrum was awarded from just metres out.

A second score was denied just moments later, as referee Nic Berry ruled the ball to be short of the line; the momentum was well and truly with Saints.

Third time was the charm as there was no stopping the returning George North on the left wing who scored the first try of the night from a superb offload, his thirty-sixth try for the club.

Jamie Gibson made a fine interception and left the defence for dust, the ball was then worked out wide for Tom Stephenson to score a second for Northampton in what was a perfect start for Saints.

Saints were ruthless with their attack and seemed to like hanging around in the Quins 22, with numerous phases wearing the London side down with every hit.

It was all going Northampton’s way, Quins had barely come close to leaving their own half, as North’s 30 metre dash kept the game in Harlequins territory and kept the search for their next score going strong.

Try number three came from the hands of Ahsee Tuala, who tiptoed to the line from the scrum with ease to the right of the posts for the points on his seventeenth appearance of the season.

Ken Pisi increased the lead with a blitzing run down the right flank to secure the bonus point with their fourth try of the game in a sublime first half for the home side, but there was no sign of them letting up any time soon.

The Saints defence was rock solid in the final minutes of the first half, as Quins came within inches of touching the base of the post, but fell just short and were pushed back out of Northampton’s 22.

Quins managed to break through with a try from Mark Lambert, barging his way through to the line, but nevertheless the score was 26-5 and they had a mountain to climb to dethrone the home side in the second half.

Api Ratuniuyarawa soared through the Quins backline to open the second half, but the home side couldn’t reach the line and had to settle with a penalty from the boot of Piers Francis, who last played in the game against Quins in December.

Quins managed to compose their attack and threaten the Saints 22 in what had been a much quieter second half, but the Northampton defence remained resolute, and held their own to maintain a 24-point advantage.

New signing Heinrich Brüssow came on to make his debut with just under 20 minutes left on the clock, but the attention was all on Gibson who made a stellar run down the right touchline, only to come inches short of the line for what would have been his side’s fifth try.

Again it was Pisi who managed to pierce the Quins defence, as he scored his second try of the night next to the sticks; Saints were running away with the game now.

Joe Marchant scored the second try for Harlequins in the final five minutes, but his efforts were in vain, as the deficit was just too great against his side.

One final charge from North didn’t quite make it six tries, but Berry’s whistle blew and the Gardens rejoiced; Saints are going to the semi-finals.

SAINTS Tuala; Pisi, Tuitavake, Stephenson, North; Francis, Reinach; van Wyk, Haywood, Brookes, Ratuniyarawa, Day (capt), Ribbans, Gibson, Harrison
Replacements: Marshall, Ma’afu, Ford-Robinson, Eadie, Brüssow, Groom, Myler, Foden

QUINS Morris; Chisholm, Marchant, Cheeseman, Alofa; Lang, Lewis; Lambert, Gray, McNulty, South, Horwill, White, Wallace, Chisholm (capt)
Replacements: Piper, Holenstein, Ibuanokpe, Twomey, Luamanu, Kitto, Prior, Murley

TIMELINE
6’ SAINTS Try North, Conversion Francis 7-0
12’ SAINTS Try Stephenson, Conversion 14-0
28’ SAINTS Try Tuala, Conversion Francis 21-0
31’ SAINTS Try Pisi 26-0
40’ QUINS Try Lambert 26-5
HALF-TIME Saints 26-5 Quins
46’ SAINTS Penalty Francis 29-5
68’ SAINTS Try Pisi Conversion Myler 36-5
77’ QUINS Try Marchant 36-10
FULL TIME Saints 36-10 Quins

Rugby

Pisi: We're stoked to reach the semi-finals

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

Putting five tries past Harlequins as they hosted the Londoners yesterday, Saints secured their place in the Anglo-Welsh Cup semi-finals but will have to wait until the end of this weekend's other games to learn their opposition.

Double try-scorer Ken Pisi was pleased with his side's performance but said that the ultimate goal was to earn the top prize and some silverware.

"We're stoked," Pisi commented simply about reaching the semi-final stage with his teammates yesterday.

"The boys have been training hard and playing well in the competition and we might as well go for that top prize."

Speaking on his own form after scoring five tries in as many games, the Saints wing said he was simply enjoying his rugby and that the scores were a welcome bonus.

"It's been good. I'm stoked to be back in the starting line-up and just playing with the brothers. I've been scoring some tries, some team tries, which is always good."

Looking ahead to the knock-out rounds, Saints will have to wait until the other results from this weekend are in to learn of their opposition but Pisi said that whoever the side faces, they'll by up for the challenge.

"We were up for it. We knew how important this was and it just shows that from the squad we put out. We've taken a lot of confidence from the previous games in this competition and we are just up for continuing that in the semi-finals."

Watch the rest of Pisi's interview here...

Match

Northampton Saints vs Harlequins

Match Details

FT ScoreFull Time Score

Saints 36-10 Harlequins

Attendance

10,125

Referee

Nic Berry

Northampton Saints
Northampton Saints
36

Summary

Full Time

Harlequins
Harlequins
10

Starting LineupNorthampton Saints

14

Ken Pisi

13

Nafi Tuitavake

12

Tom Stephenson

11

George North

9

Cobus Reinach

3

Kieran Brookes

5

Christian Day

7

Jamie Gibson

SubsNorthampton Saints

17

Campese Ma'afu

18

Jamal Ford-Robinson

19

Mitch Eadie

20

Heinrich Brüssow

21

Nic Groom

22

Stephen Myler

23

Ben Foden

Opposition LineupHarlequins

15
Aaron Morris
14
Ross Chisholm
13
Joe Marchant
12
Henry Cheeseman
11
Alofa Alofa
10
James Lang
9
Dave Lewis
1
Mark Lambert
2
Joe Gray
3
Josh McNulty
4
Stan South
5
James Horwill
6
Archie White
7
Luke Wallace
8
James Chisholm

SubsHarlequins

16
Charlie Piper
17
Cameron Holenstein
18
Josh Ibuanokpe
19
Sam Twomey
20
Matt Luamanu
21
Jono Kitto
22
Ian Prior
23
Cadlan Murley
Rugby

Harrison: Anglo-Welsh Cup is everything at the minute

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

Heading into their final Anglo-Welsh Cup pool stage game with a semi-final place on the line, Saints return home to take on another top-of-their-pool side in Harlequins.

Back in the matchday squad for this Friday, Teimana Harrison believes that the resilience shown by the squad to hold out for a last-gasp win last weekend – when they faced Sale Sharks at the AJ Bell Stadium – is something they must replicate tomorrow.

"It was awesome to see the character of the boys last week," Harrison, who travelled north with the team last weekend, said.

"They stuck in there until the very last minute, they weren't shy, they didn't go into their shells and it was really good to see.

"Given how we had been struggling in 2017, I think we're now doing well as a team."

And looking ahead to the challenge of Harlequins, back-rower Harrison said that the squad are fully focussed on securing the semi-final spot and progressing as far as they can in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.

He added: "This match is everything at the minute. This is our chance for some silverware this season, so we're going really hard for it. The boys are up for it so it's going to be an exciting game."

Watch the rest of Harrison's interview here...

Tickets are still available for Saints' Anglo-Welsh Cup clash with Harlequins on Friday 2 February from the ticket office at Franklin’s Gardens, online by CLICKING HERE or by calling the Saints Ticket Office on 01604 581000.

Rugby

Brüssow included in Saints squad to take on Harlequins

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

Heinrich Brüssow is poised to make his first appearance for Northampton Saints off the bench on Friday evening, with the hosts making five changes to the starting line-up from last week’s triumph over Sale Sharks.

The hosts – who earlier this week announced Hurricanes boss Chris Boyd as their new Director of Rugby from next season – can advance to the knockout stages of the competition with a victory over Harlequins at Franklin’s Gardens, kick-off 7.45pm, having reached the semi-finals in three of the past five seasons.

Piers Francis returns to the No.10 jersey and will partner up with scrum-half Cobus Reinach, who starts his third straight game in the Black, Green and Gold.

British & Irish Lion George North will make his injury comeback, while Ken Pisi – who has three tries in Saints’ last four matches – is on the other wing and Ahsee Tuala continues at fullback.

Nafi Tuitavake, scorer of last week’s match-winning try against Sale Sharks, and Tom Stephenson are retained in Northampton’s midfield, but one change is made in the front row with Mikey Haywood coming in to join Francois Van Wyk and Kieran Brookes.

Jamie Gibson and Teimana Harrison – who were rested last weekend – return to the back row, but the Franklin’s Gardens faithful could capture a glimpse of Brüssow off the bench as he pulls on the Saints jersey for the very first time.

The South Africa international joined up with the squad a fortnight ago and will hope to make an impact in the closing stages, as will Ben Foden, Mitch Eadie and Nic Groom who return to the replacements list after being rested last week.

“This game presents another tough test for us in the Anglo-Welsh Cup, a competition we are very keen to advance in,” said Saints technical coaching consultant Alan Gaffney.

“This is the first chance of the season to pick up some silverware, and we want to win everything that’s on offer to us as a Club.

“Harlequins will be a tough test, but we are confident we can continue to build the momentum we have created in recent weeks with another victory heading back into the Aviva Premiership.”

Tickets are now available for Saints' Anglo-Welsh Cup clash with Harlequins from the ticket office at Franklin’s Gardens, online by CLICKING HERE or by calling the Saints Ticket Office on 01604 581000.

SAINTS V HARLEQUINS TEAM NEWS
Anglo-Welsh Cup, Round 4
Franklin's Gardens
Friday 2nd February, 2018
Kick-off: 7.45pm

SAINTS HARLEQUINS

15 Ahsee Tuala
14 Ken Pisi
13 Nafi Tuitavake
12 Tom Stephenson
11 George North
10 Piers Francis
9 Cobus Reinach

1 Francois Van Wyk
2 Mikey Haywood
3 Kieran Brookes
4 Api Ratuniyarawa
5 Christian Day (capt)
6 David Ribbans
7 Jamie Gibson
8 Teimana Harrison    

Replacements
16 Reece Marshall
17 Campese Ma’afu
18 Jamal Ford-Robinson
19 Mitch Eadie
20 Heinrich Brüssow
21 Nic Groom
22 Stephen Myler
23 Ben Foden

 

15 Aaron Morris
14 Ross Chisholm
13 Joe Marchant
12 Henry Cheeseman
11 Alofa Alofa
10 James Lang
9 Dave Lewis 

1 Mark Lambert
2 Joe Gray
3 Josh McNulty
4 Stan South
5 James Horwill
6 Archie White
7 Luke Wallace
8 James Chisholm (capt)

Replacements
16 Charlie Piper
17 Cameron Holenstein
18 Josh Ibuanokpe
19 Sam Twomey
20 Mat Luamanu
21 Jono Kitto
22 Ian Prior
23 Cadan Murley

Injury update:
Alex Waller, Jamie Elliott, Luther Burrell, and James Craig are unavailable for selection.

 

Form Guide

Form

LLLLL

Last match

Lost to Harlequins 29-49

Past meeting

Lost 29-49
Full Time
Northampton Saints
Northampton Saints
36
Harlequins
Harlequins
10