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  • Penalty goals: Myler (2), Lamb,
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  • Penalty goals: Evans (6),

Aviva Premiership: Quins carve out win to stay top

Last updated: 23rd December 2012   Subscribe to RSS Feed

lee dickson northampton v harlequins
nick evans harlequins v northampton

Nick Evans: His six penalties decided the match

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Harlequins will retain their position at the top of the Aviva Premiership table at Christmas after an 18-9 victory over Northampton at Franklin's Gardens.

Nick Evans kicked all Quins' points from the tee while Stephen Myler and Ryan Lamb responded for Saints, who were behind from the fourth minute.

Conor O'Shea's side have a point in hand over Saracens following Sarries' victory at Bath earlier on Saturday, while Saints slip down to fifth.

Harlequins' front row asserted their extra muscle early on, driving Northampton back 10 metres at the first scrum to earn a penalty, which Evans slotted to give the champions an early lead.

The stand-off missed soon afterwards though and Myler made him pay by levelling the scores on a pitch that held up surprisingly well given the recent torrential rain.

Ben Foden thought he had scored the opening try of the game but the touch judge ruled George Pisi's slap pass to the full-back was forward - although TV replays suggested otherwise.

To compound Saints' misery Myler missed a straightforward penalty soon after and Evans added three points from a similar position to make it 6-3 after 29 minutes.

And three minutes later Saints turned down a shot at the posts from 40m and kicked to the corner, only to see the attack come to nothing.

Tremendous

With incessant rain making handling problematic, a tremendous catch under pressure from Mike Brown allowed Nick Easter to sprint from one 22 to another, only for wing Jamie Elliott to gather his chip over the last tackler and a penalty ended the promising Quins break.

Evans missed another shot at goal and with 25 minutes to go prop James Johnston was sin-binned trying to kill a Saints break by lying on the ball on halfway.

Joe Marler was lucky not to get another yellow when he killed the ball in his 22, and Saints this time decided to kick for the posts with Myler making it 6-6.

Despite having the extra man the home side made little impression and two Foden errors cost them dear.

First, the England back dallied fielding a kick and was penalised for holding on to allow Evans to put Quins back into the lead.

The 27-year-old then spilled an up-and-under and a fifth penalty from Evans with seven minutes to go saw the home fans start to spill out of the ground.

Lamb came on to add a penalty as Saints decided against going for a try five metres from the line, but Evans denied them even a point with another successful kick right on time.

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Friday 3rd October
Aviva Premiership
19:45Bath vs Saracens
Saturday 4th October
15:00Harlequins vs London Welsh
15:00London Irish vs Northampton
15:15Gloucester vs Leicester
Sunday 5th October
14:00Sale vs Wasps
15:00Newcastle vs Exeter
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19:45Leicester vs Harlequins
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14:30London Welsh vs Newcastle
15:00Saracens vs Gloucester
15:00Exeter vs London Irish
15:15Northampton vs Sale
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14:00Wasps vs Bath
Friday 14th November
19:45Gloucester vs Harlequins
19:45Northampton vs Exeter
Saturday 15th November
14:00Sale vs London Irish
17:00Bath vs Newcastle
Sunday 16th November
13:00Leicester vs Saracens
15:15Wasps vs London Welsh
Friday 21st November
19:45Harlequins vs Sale
20:00Newcastle vs Gloucester
Saturday 22nd November
15:00London Irish vs Bath
15:00Exeter vs Wasps
Sunday 23rd November
13:00Saracens vs Northampton
15:15London Welsh vs Leicester
Friday 28th November
19:45Bath vs Harlequins

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Phil Edwards

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