Premiership: Northampton Saints 25-18 Harlequins

Dylan Hartley rumbles over his try for Northampton against Harlequins
Dylan Hartley (right) grabbed a try for Northampton 10 minutes after coming on as a replacement
Gallagher Premiership
Northampton (9) 25
Try: Hartley Con: Biggar Pens: Biggar 5, Mallinder
Harlequins (3) 18
Tries: Care, Lang Con: Smith Pens: Smith 2

England captain Dylan Hartley continued his comeback from injury with a try to guide Northampton to a Premiership victory against Harlequins.

The hooker was on the end of a Saints rolling maul 10 minutes after coming on as a second-half replacement.

It proved decisive as Quins threatened an away win through tries from England scrum-half Danny Care and James Lang.

Dan Biggar kicked 17 points with a conversion and five penalties, missing just once off the tee for Saints.

The hosts clung on for a first win of the season - and for new director of rugby Chris Boyd - as Harlequins came within inches of snatching a draw before Saints turned the ball over on their own try line.

Hartley, who missed five months with a recurrence of a concussion after the last round of the Six Nations in March, was also ruled out of England's summer Test series in South Africa.

His score was Northampton's only try of the evening, after Biggar and Marcus Smith traded penalties in a first half that saw Saints lead 9-3.

Cobus Reinach had one disallowed by the television match official when Harlequins hooker Elia Elia wedged a hand under the ball with a last-ditch challenge.

Quins made few visits to their opponents' 22. But Care bundled over from five metres with their first before replacement fly-half Lang set up a nervous finish with a burst through Northampton's defence from 40 metres out for his first Premiership try.

Northampton director of rugby Chris Boyd told BBC Radio Northampton:

"We're still working out how to play with each other. I think we probably deserved the victory more than they did in the end.

"If they'd have scored and kicked the goal at the end to get the draw, they probably would've taken that and it would've felt a bit hollow for us.

"We've just got to get better at the chances we create. We're not converting them into enough points.

"It's a new game plan, a new emphasis and new people playing it, so we're a long way from complete that's for sure."

Northampton: Tuala; Pisi, Burrell, Francis, Collins; Biggar, Reinach; Waller (capt), Fish, Franks, Ribbans, Lawes, Haskell, Brussow, Harrison.

Replacements: Hartley, van Wyk, Painter, Ratuniyarawa, Gibson, Mitchell, Symons, Mallinder.

Harlequins: Morris; Walker, Marchant, Tapuai, Earle; Smith, Care; Lambert, Elia, Collier, Symons, Glynn, White, Robshaw (capt), Chisholm.

Replacements: Crumpton, Auterac, Swainston, South, Bothma, Mulchrone, Lang, Lasike.

Referee: Tom Foley.


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