|Northampton: (19) 46|
|Tries: Waller, Ramm 2, Salakaia-Loto, Furbank, Hutchinson Cons: Smith 2, Furbank 3 Pens: Furbank 2|
|Harlequins: (3) 17|
|Tries: Els, David Cons: Edwards 2 Pens: Allan|
Northampton thrashed Harlequins 46-17 in the Premiership to end a poor run.
Early tries from Alex Waller and James Ramm saw a dominant Saints start well, but it was not until the final first-half play that Ramm got another score as Saints were held up three times.
Lukhan Salakaia-Loto’s bonus-point try increased Northampton’s lead after Matt Proctor had a try disallowed.
Jordan Els got a try back before George Furbank and Rory Hutchinson completed the rout.
Nick David scored a long-range consolation try in the final minutes for the tired-looking 2021 champions as they suffered their heaviest loss to Northampton.
Saints move up to fifth place in the Premiership from seventh while Harlequins remain third, seven points off second-placed Sale and 17 behind leaders Saracens.
Northampton did not look like a side short of confidence despite losing their previous four Heineken Champions Cup and Premiership matches as they dominated much of the game from the first whistle.
Waller scored from close range inside four minutes after some big carries, and his side could have been further ahead had David Ribbans not been held up over the Quins line.
Quins failed to get inside the home 22 in the first 20 minutes and that dominance got a second try when Ramm scored on the right wing after some hard carrying allowed Fraser Dingwall and Fin Smith to combine to set the winger free.
Tommy Allan’s penalty got Harlequins on the scoreboard with their first foray into Northampton’s red zone after 23 minutes, but Saints had chances to increase the lead as Ramm was stopped after breaking through and Sam Matavesi dropped the ball as he galloped down the left wing.
Ribbans and Waller were held up over the line shortly before the break, but Saints got their rewards with the clock in the red – Quins tried to keep the ball alive but Andre Esterhuizen’s knock-on allowed Tommy Freeman to kick through to Ramm, and the two wingers combined for him to score in the left corner.
Saints started the second half as they had ended the first – Matt Proctor had a 42nd-minute try chalked off after his foot went into touch before George Furbank kicked a penalty for the hosts.
Alex Dombrandt was sin-binned soon after following a ruck infringement and Furbank added three more points before Salakaia-Loto’s close-range score while the England number eight was off the field.
Even when Quins did have chances they spurned them – it took until the 67th minute for them to score as Dombrandt forced his way through to put Els in under the posts.
But almost immediately Northampton responded as Furbank ended a flowing move with the fifth try before Salakaia-Loto was held up with six minutes to go.
Hutchinson got the sixth as he skipped into the corner with five minutes left before David’s late score.
Northampton Saints head coach Sam Vesty told BBC Radio Northampton:
“We’ve been doing some good bits for some good chunks of games and not putting it together, and I think in that instance there we did manage to put it together.
“I thought our defence was outstanding, so we forced them to give us the ball back and we’re a good attack, but our defence really snuffed them out.
“When we had our opportunities with the ball I thought our breakdown work and our contact area was so good, so physical, so fast, that our ball was really quick and that allowed us to go and play and score the tries that we did.”
Harlequins head coach Tabai Matson told BT Sport:
“We’re back to the drawing board on the back of that performance.
“A lot of things failed – away from home you need to be better than that. We were subpar and they punished us.
“As a coaching group there were probably parts of the week that we got wrong, because I think when you come here and you get a score that big it’s not one thing that’s failed, there’s multiple things.
“People get through trauma differently, so everyone will work through it in the next 48 hours differently, but ultimately we’ve got to come back and find some solutions.”
Northampton: Furbank; Freeman, Proctor, Dingwall, Ramm; F Smith, Mitchell; Waller, Matavesi, Hill, Ribbans, Moon, Salakaia-Loto, Scott-Young, Ludlam (capt).
Replacements: Haywood, Iyogun, Petch, Wilkins, Graham, Braley, Hutchinson, Skosan.
Harlequins: David; Murley, Marchant, Esterhuizen, Bassett; Allan, Gjaltema; Baxter, Walker, Kerrod, Lamb, Hammond, White, Lawday, Dombrandt (capt)
Replacements: Musk, Els, Louw, Matthews, Wallace, Care, Edwards, Beard
Referee: Luke Pearce.