Northampton Saints 40-22 Harlequins, Franklin's Gardens
Northampton Saints continued their impressive start in the ongoing Gallagher Premiership as they defeated Harlequins 40-22 at Franklin's Gardens on Friday.
This is Saints' third win from as many games as they reach the pole position in the table while Harlequins are at the seventh place.
Marcus Smith started the proceedings with a third-minute penalty goal before Taqele Naiyaravoro touched down in the sixth minute to lead Northampton's response.
James Grayson missed the conversion but ensured he added the extras on the second try from Teimana Harrison in the 10th minute. The fly-half also followed it with another penalty goal as they increased their lead to 15-3.
Naiyaravoro continued his impressive form this season and scored his second in the 26th minute and they soon went on to claim the bonus point with Mikey Haywood also going over the line in the 37th minute.
Harlequins tried to bounce back in the game with tries from Cadan Murley (40') and Chris Robshaw (56') as the gap between the two teams came down to 27-15 before Grayson kicked a drop goal and penalty goal to increase the home side's lead to 18 points.
Any chance of a Quins comeback was put off with Harrison crossing over in the 65th minute to take the scoreline to 40-15 before a consolation try from Murley reduced the visitors' losing margin.
"The first three minutes were outstanding. They gave away penalty after penalty and unfortunately the reward was only three points not seven," said Harlequins head of rugby Paul Gustard.
"It was one guy (Naiyaravoro) who caused the problems with his physicality on the sides.
"We pride ourselves on our intensity and urgency in defence and we lacked that in the first 20 or 30 minutes."
Widely regarded as the most competitive rugby union league in the world...it can only be the Gallagher Premiership.
12 teams compete in the league over a season, playing every team both home and away, before four move into the playoffs and one is relegated.
The division is becoming more and more exciting as each year passes by so who will be lifting silverware at Twickenham in May?
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