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Rugby union: talking points from the weekend’s action

Northampton will be weakened by the loss of Samu Manoa, Gloucester’s motivation is in question and Tom May let the public be judge and jury

As Northampton reflected on another away victory against a potential title rival and a year in which they won the Premiership and remain its strongest side, one question recurs: how will they replace Samu Manoa, who is joining Toulon in the summer on a four-year contract? The No8 scored one try and created another to help his side overcome Harlequins’ monopoly of possession, physical and dextrous. Manoa was virtually unknown when he joined the Saints from San Francisco in 2011 but has established himself as one of the English game’s leading players, which is why he was offered a deal worth a reported £625,000 a year by the European champions. The Saints were some way short of their best against Quins, missing Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes in the scrum and lineout, but armed with a player who does the work of two, they again made light of going down to 14 men. Paul Rees

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