Harlequins v Northampton Saints: Tom Vickers' big match preview

Fixture: Harlequins v Northampton Saints

Friday, 12th April 2019, 1:35 pm
Updated Friday, 12th April 2019, 1:42 pm
Ben Foden scored a dramatic added-time try when Saints last won at the Stoop, in February 2016

Competition: Gallagher Premiership (round 19)

Venue: The Stoop, Twickenham

Date and kick-off time: Saturday, April 13, 2019, 3pm

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Television coverage: None

Referee: Christophe Ridley

Harlequins: Brown; Earle, Alofa Alofa, Tapuai, Murley; Smith, Hidalgo-Clyne; Auterac, Crumpton, Sinckler; Symons, Horwill (cc); Clifford, Robshaw (cc), Dombrandt.Replacements: Ward, Boyce, Swainston, Glynn, Kunatani, Saunders, Lang, Saili.

Saints: Furbank; Tuala, Hutchinson, Francis, Naiyaravoro; Biggar, Reinach; van Wyk, Marshall, Hill; Ratuniyarawa, Lawes; Gibson, Wood, Harrison.

Replacements: Ma'asi, Waller, Franks, Coles, Eadie, Mitchell, Grayson, Kellaway.

Outs: Saints: Andy Symons (knee), Harry Mallinder (knee), Mike Haywood (knee), Dylan Hartley (knee), Ehren Painter (calf), Paddy Ryan (knee), James Haskell (toe), Fraser Dingwall (ankle), David Ribbans (ankle), James Fish (concussion), James Craig (hamstring), Nafi Tuitavake (elbow), Ollie Sleightholme (ankle), Heinrich Brüssow (concussion), Lewis Ludlam (shoulder), Alex Moon (ankle), Luther Burrell (concussion).

Most recent meeting: Friday, September 7, 2018: Saints 25 Harlequins 18 (Gallagher Premiership)

Tom's preview: The Stoop is not a venue Saints have visited for some time, but memories of matches there remain.

And the black, green and gold will be hoping to make some welcome recollections on Harlequins soil this Saturday.

Saints were beaten on their most recent game at the ground, losing 20-9 after a largely limp display.

But prior to that they had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat as Ben Foden's score, after Ben Botica failed to kick the ball out to end the game, gave them a sweet success.

And how Saints could do with upsetting their hosts in a more comfortable manner this weekend.

It is a huge ask, but if Chris Boyd's men can win with a bonus point while depriving Quins of one, they would still be right in the mix for a top-four finish.

Of course, after last Sunday's disappointing defeat to Gloucester, play-off hopes appear to be vanishing quicker than Cobus Reinach on a run.

But Saints have done nothing if not believe this season, and they will not give up hope of making the end-of-season shootout until the absolutely have to.

Harlequins may sit fourth, seven points ahead of Saints, but their recent form has shown they are beatable.

They have some talented players and coaches, but they are far from infallible.

Saints are similar, but they won well on the road at Leicester back in March and if they can produce another showing of that ilk, they have every chance of victory.

With tricky trips to Newcastle Falcons and Exeter Chiefs sandwiched by a home game against Worcester Warriors, it remains all to play for.

And Saints will hope that is still the case come Saturday evening.

Tom's prediction: Harlequins 25 Saints 28