Northampton squeeze past Harlequins thanks to Alex Mitchell’s late try


Harlequins 19-20 Northampton

Mitchell try and Grayson conversion seal Saints’ win

James Grayson landed a last-gasp conversion as Northampton secured a crucial Gallagher Premiership success at top-four rivals Harlequins.

Alex Mitchell’s fine finish set up a big kick for Grayson with less than a minute to go and the replacement did the job to seal a vital four points.

Harlequins had looked set to earn a 19-13 success when Marcus Smith’s two penalties put them ahead but they could not hold on at the end.

Paul Gustard’s men have now been beaten in four successive league matches and lie just four points ahead of fifth-placed Northampton with three games remaining.

The game was blighted by several bad injuries on both sides, with Quins losing wing Nathan Earle to a suspected broken leg and Cadan Murley requiring lengthy treatment before coming off. Northampton lost George Furbank, Piers Francis and Ahsee Tuala on an attritional afternoon – but they prevailed in the end.

Smith opened with a penalty but Dan Biggar levelled the scores after Matt Symons was penalised for playing the nine and suddenly the visitors were getting a foothold in the game. Rory Hutchinson’s clever run and offload opened the door and Jamie Gibson sent the Samoan wing Tuala in out wide for what looked a simple score.

Biggar converted from the touchline but Smith narrowed the gap to four points from the tee after a lengthy break in play due to Furbank’s head injury. Biggar cancelled out that Quins penalty with an effort of his own as Northampton ramped up the pressure at the breakdown.

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