The last round of the Anglo-Welsh pool fixtures take place this weekend and for the Saints that means a home game against Harlequins on Friday at 7.45pm. If you are not going to be at Franklin’s Gardens then TV coverage is on BTSport1 or commentary on Radio Northampton.
Both teams sit on top of their respective pools. Harlequins have a 5 point gap over Exeter so a losing bonus point would still see Quins through to the semi-finals. Saints have a 3 point buffer over both Saracens and Worcester, and will thus need a win to guarantee qualification. I’m sure that our team will be similar to the squad that went to Sale last week but how strong a side Quins will name? Will they go all out to clinch the win or will they rest a few players?
If Northampton doesn’t get the four points then we will depend on the results from two other games…
Dragons v Worcester: All four Welsh teams sit bottom of their pools so for Dragons this will all be about pride at home on Friday night. Worcester had good bonus point win against Exeter in round 3 and they must fancy their chances of winning again this week, but can they get another 4-try bonus?
Exeter v Saracens: If Saints and Worcester fail to win on Friday we will have to wait until Saturday afternoon to see who qualifies from our pool when Exeter play Saracens. The Chiefs are 5 points adrift but if Quins fail to get even a losing bonus they will know that a good win here could see them scrape through. Their fans will certainly want to see a better performance than last week. Saracens will also know from the Friday results whether they can qualify with a win from this game. It could be a dead rubber, or it could be that both have something to play. Regardless of the situation, I’d suggest a home win from this one – here’s hoping that the Chiefs do us a favour.