Premiership: Northampton 23-9 Harlequins

NORTHAMPTON (6) 23

  • Tries: North, Hartley
  • Cons: Myler 2
  • Pens: Myler 3

HARLEQUINS (6) 9

  • Pens: Evans 2, Botica

Northampton Saints are top of the Premiership following a hard-fought victory over Harlequins.

Northampton's Stephen Myler and Quins' Nick Evans both kicked two penalties as the sides were level at 6-6 at half-time.

George North's excellent try put Saints ahead and Myler added the extras.

Ben Botica's penalty for the visitors made for a tense finish, but Myler added a penalty and then a conversion after Dylan Hartley's try.

I'm incredibly frustrated by how long energy is taken out of games by looking at decisions that could be easily made

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea on the time taken to review decisions on video

The Saints made a strong start and their early pressure led to Myler's first successful penalty of the night, but Harlequins hit straight back through Evans.

Evans then kicked the visitors into a 6-3 lead from in front of the posts as they came close to the try-line with a spell of dominance.

Harlequins lost Tom Guest to a yellow card for entering the maul at the side, but Northampton could only take advantage just as he returned from the sin bin as Myler's kick ensured Saints tied the game at the break.

North's solo try as he powered through the Harlequins backline on the left-hand side put Saints ahead five minutes into the second half and Myler added the extras.

Myler missed a straightforward penalty and a chance to give the home side a 10-point lead and Botica's successful effort closed the gap to four.

But Myler's third successful penalty of the night from four attempts calmed any nerves and Paul Doran-Jones was quickly sent to the sin bin.

Hartley's try was referred to the TMO but was deemed good and Myler's conversion hit the bar and looped over.

Northampton had George Pisi sin-binned in the closing stages for a swinging arm but they had already done enough for victory.

VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder:

"We needed that from George, it was fantastic to see him score in the corner.

"Young Charlie Walker is a talented player but when you're one on one with George, you have to make sure you make a good tackle.

"Doing the double over Harlequins is pleasing because of all that chat this time last year. You remember things and we hurt last year when people said we couldn't beat a top-four side.

"I'm delighted that we've done the double over Quins and beaten Bath and Saracens here. We've shown we can win big games."

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea on the time taken to review decisions on video:

"I'm incredibly frustrated by how long energy is taken out of games by looking at decisions that could be easily made.

"We'll give feedback through the right channels rather than when I'm emotionally charged and I am, trust me.

"We got on the wrong side of the referee for the whole match and the little things in the game went Northampton's way.

"I'm frustrated by a lot of what happened out there and I'm sure the crowd are as well. Everything possible that could have gone against us, did."

FRIDAY'S LINE-UPS

Northampton: Collins; Elliott, G. Pisi, Burrell, North; Myler, Dickson; Waller, Hartley (capt), Ma'afu; Lawes, Day; Clark, Dowson, Manoa.

Replacements: Autagavaia for Collins (75), G. Dickson for Myler (75), Fotuali'i for L. Dickson (64), E. Waller for A. Waller (68), Haywood for Hartley (74), Mercey for Ma'afu (68), Wood for Dowson (61). Not Used: S. Dickinson.

Sin Bin: G. Pisi (78).

Harlequins: Brown; Walker, Hopper, Molenaar, Smith; Evans, Dickson; Marler, Ward, Collier; Matthews, Robson; Guest, Robshaw (capt), Easter.

Replacements: Lindsay-Hague for Smith (74), Botica for Evans (41), Lambert for Marler (74), Doran-Jones for Collier (68), Kennedy for Matthews (56), Trayfoot for Guest (61). Not Used: Crumpton, Stuart.

Sin Bin: Guest (28), Doran-Jones (72).

Attendance: 13,475

Referee: Greg Garner (RFU).