Harlequins seal Champions Cup berth despite losing a thriller to Northampton Saints

George North scored a try for Northampton Saints
George North scored a try for Northampton Saints

Northampton Saints 22-20 Harlequins, Franklin's Gardens

Harlequins have managed to secure a European Champions Cup spot despite losing the final round of the Aviva Premiership game to Northampton Saints by 22-20 at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday.

James Horwill kicked the proceedings with a second minute try for Harlequins while Nick Evans was quick to add a conversion and a penalty apiece to take the visitors to a 10 point lead.

George North and Alex Waller led Northampton's reply as they crossed over twice in a span of eight minutes and Harry Mallinder's double conversion helped them claim a four point lead.

The momentum swung back to Quins after Joe Marchant went past the line in the 33rd minute as the teams ended the first half level at 17-17.

Evans produced a slender advantage to Harlequins with his second penalty kick that came at the start of the second half but they suffered a setback when Charlie Matthews was sin-binned in the 58th minute.

As Exeter maintained their three point lead heading into the final quarter, Api Ratuniyarawa scored the decisive try for Northampton Saints in the 68th minute to complete a thrilling two point victory for the hosts.

The result also meant both teams ended the season with 52 points but Harlequins managed to pip Northampton Saints in the crucial sixth position with an improved points difference.

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