The Saints left Twickenham empty handed after coming up against a dominant Harlequins outfit.
Tim Swiel kicked four second half penalties to win it for the hosts after Saints had edged their way back into a contest that might have been well beyond them by the break.
It was all Quins in the early runnings and while Nick Evans could only convert one of three penalty chances from the tee, an overlap on halfway opened the Saints up and Alofa Alofa enjoyed a free run in on the left. Evans’ kick again strayed from the tee though and when Myler rewarded a sustained spell of pressure with the visitors’ first points - a couple of mid-range penalties finding the mark - a gap that could have been as much as 16 points stood at just two.
With Evans and Karl Dickson continuing to pull the strings well, Saints remained peg back with a series of kicks in behind, but the hosts enjoyed little success for their lion’s share of territory, Tim Visser having an effort ruled out by the TMO.
In fact, only the right post kept them ahead, Myler’s third attempt of the afternoon thundering back off the upright and falling kindly for Quins to clear. The end of the half belonged to the visitors but with Harlequins bringing pressure upon themselves with an overthrown lineout, another penalty chance missed the target for Myler and the hosts’ advantage grew after the break.
Back in control of the match, replacement fly half Tim Swiel knocked over a penalty within five minutes of the restart and doubled his tally for the afternoon from close range as the hour passed.
Saints were being starved of the ball, but when they did get it things were starting to happen. Teimana Harrison and Louis Picamoles both made sizeable inroads as the men in white swept from halfway up to the home 22 and when another kickable opportunity presented itself Myler made no mistake.
That three-pointer took the game within a one-score margin but that was to be as good as it would get for the Saints.
The effort was certainly there, but the standard of execution was way off what it needed to be to create a repeat of last February’s dramatics, and repeated attacks came to nothing as the ball hit the deck or was turned over by the hosts.
Indeed Harlequins, too, were seemingly refusing to impose any consistent periods of possession, but when they got the ball in their hands they had more menace, Kyle Sinckler earning a man of the match award on the back of several eye-catching barnstorming runs. Mike Brown put pace from full back, Jamie Roberts showed some neat dexterity in contact, and as the game wore on the home set piece got on top, too.
They may not have got the tries, but with Swiel nailing two late penalties Harlequins had the points, and Saints had to head home to lick their wounds.
QUINS Brown; Yarde, Alofa, Roberts, Visser; Evans, Dickson; Lambert, Buchanan, Sinckler, Merrick, Horwill (capt), Robshaw, Wallace, Chisholm
Reps: Gray, Jones, Collier, Twomey, Luamanu, Mulchrone, Swiel, Marchant
SAINTS Tuala; K Pisi, G Pisi, Burrell, North; Myler, Groom; A Waller, Haywood, Brookes, Lawes, Paterson, Wood (capt), Clark, Harrison
Reps: Clare, E Waller, Hill, Dickinson, Picamoles, Dickson, Olver, Foden
3mins QUINS Miss pen Evans
7mins QUINS Pen Evans 3-0
9mins QUINS Miss pen Evans
12mins QUINS Try Alofa 8-0
19mins SAINTS Pen Myler 8-3
24mins SAINTS Pen Myler 8-6
33mins SAINTS Miss pen Myler
40mins SAINTS Miss pen Myler
HALF-TIME QUINS 8 SAINTS 6
47mins QUINS Pen Swiel 11-6
60mins QUINS Pen Swiel 14-6
64mins SAINTS Pen Myler 14-9
72mins QUINS Pen Swiel 17-9
79mins QUINS Pen Swiel 20-9
FULL-TIME QUINS 20 SAINTS 9