Pisi’s double helps Northampton into semi-finals of Anglo-Welsh Cup
Strong Saints showing ends Quins’ 100 per cent record in the pool stages
Ken Pisi scored two tries as Northampton Saints stormed into the semi-finals of the Anglo-Welsh Cup with a convincing 36-10 against Harlequins at Franklin’s Gardens.
Quins had gone into the game with a 100 per cent record in the pool stages, but that was ruined by a strong Saints showing.
George North – released by Wales in a bid to get game time ahead of the Six Nations clash with England next week – Tom Stephenson, Ahsee Tuala and Pisi earned Northampton the bonus point inside the opening 30 minutes.
And Pisi put further gloss on the win with his second score after the break, while prop Mark Lambert and centre Joe Marchant picked up tries for Harlequins.
Northampton had come out of the blocks quickly with a lengthy spell of pressure resulting in North finding space on the left wing to score.
Piers Francis, making his return from the concussion that had kept him out since Saints’ defeat to Quins in December, converted, and he was soon adding the extras to a Stephenson try that was made by an interception and rapid break from flanker Jamie Gibson.
There was soon a third Saints score as full-back Tuala cruised in, with Francis again converting.
The bonus-point try was to come inside the first 30 minutes as Stephenson and David Ribbans did some good work on the wing, setting up Pisi for the score.
Francis missed the conversion but it was 26-0 to Northampton and almost total dominance from the home side.
Harlequins eventually had something to shout about before the break as Lambert made the most of a rare spell in the ascendancy for the away side.
But James Lang sent the conversion wide of the posts and Northampton were soon on the scoresheet in the second period, through a Francis penalty.
With the Saints well clear, the game started to go slightly quiet, with both teams utilising their benches.
Heinrich Brussow was handed his Northampton debut in the 62nd minute and Pisi bagged his second score soon after.
Harlequins had the final say thanks to Marchant’s score, but it was too little, too late for the away side.