Quins grab last play-off place

Harlequins edged Bath 19-16 to grab a place in the Premiership play-offs after a remarkable late-season run.

Knowing that they had to win, they were indebited to the boot of Nick Evans, who kicked four penalties and converted a try by Mike Brown. Bath, on the other hand, relied entirely on George Ford, who scored all their points with a converted try and three penalties.

The victory is Quins' fifth in succession having beaten Exeter, Leicester, Sale and London Irish en route to the knockouts.

The Northampton Saints confirmed their home semi-final by running in 11 tries to beat Wasps 74-13 at Franklin's Gardens. They were down 13-0 after 15 minutes, but came back in style. Wasps, to be fair, did not put out their strongest side, with one eye on the play-off against Stade Français for the final place in next year's new European Rugby Champions Cup.

Runaway leaders Saracens, too, rested several players ahead of their push for domestic and European honours, and fell 31-27 to Leicester, who were safely in third place. Of more concern to Saracens, though, is the red card given to new German international and former Stormer Justin Melck for alleged eye-gouging. The club are to appeal the call, which came from a touch judge. Saracens need all their resources for the European Cup final on 24 May against Toulon, and the Premiership run-in.

So Northampton will host Leicester at Franklin's Gardens On Friday, 16 May, while Saracens will have home advantage against Quins on 17 May. The final will be on 31 May, which could deprive England, particularly, of several players ahead of their first Test against New Zealand on 7 June. Should Leicester and Saracens reach the final, England would be without Manu Tuilagi and Brad Barritt for the first Test. If the Northampton Saints reach the final then England must do without Luther Burrell.


Harlequins 19 Bath 16
Leicester 31 Saracens 27
London Irish 22 Sale Sharks 20
Newcastle 13 Exeter 23
Northampton 74 London Wasps 13
Worcester 28 Gloucester 27

Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images