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Harlequins 10-38 Saracens – Champions run in six tries in stunning win

Saracens celebrate a try against Harlequins
Jamie George scored Saracens’ second try in their impressive victory at the Twickenham Stoop
Tries: Esterhuizen; Pens: Smith; Cons: Smith
Saracens:(19) 38
Tries: Gonzalez, Hartley, George, Christie, Parton, Lewington Cons: Farrell 3, Goode

Champions Saracens produced a superb performance to ruthlessly dispatch Harlequins in a one-sided Premiership London derby at the Stoop.

Marcus Smith put Quins in front with an early penalty but it then became one-way traffic for the rest of the game.

Juan-Martin Gonzalez, Olly Hartley and Jamie George all went over as Sarries stormed to a 19-3 lead at half-time.

Andy Christie, Tom Parton and Alex Lewington piled on Quins’ misery before Andre Esterhuizen’s consolation.

Saracens’ six-try victory over the 2021 champions, who had won their last four games, sends a message to the rest of the Premiership that they will take some stopping in their bid for back-to-back titles.

Their seventh straight win over their London rivals – and fourth on the spin in the league this season – sees them go above Quins into third place in the table.

Given the excellent form of both teams, expectation of a special night under the lights was high as these two old rivals, with their star-studded line-ups, prepared to take each other on once more.

Once the pyrotechnics and dancing light show ahead of kick-off was over, the crowd were treated to an intense opening few minutes.

England’s Smith wasted an early settler for Quins, surprisingly hitting the upright with a fifth-minute penalty in front of the posts from just outside the 22.

He made amends with his second effort from the tee to put the home side in front on 17 minutes but that merely stung Sarries into action.

No side is more accurate from their own line-out in the Premiership than the champions and they showed why again as Argentina’s Gonzalez burrowed over from a rolling maul off the back of a five-metre routine.

Alex Goode, now 35, swapped passes with England captain Owen Farrell and sidestepped his way through a groping Quins defence to lead a 30-metre charge.

The ball was eventually worked wide to the right for Hartley, an early replacement for injury-victim Alex Lozowski, to dive in and dot the ball down on the line.

Saracens repeated their line-out trick on 34 minutes as George bulldozed over from another irresistible maul as they went in 16 points ahead at the break.

Despite shading possession in the first half, Harlequins desperately needed to sharpen their execution but their defence crumbled once more under pressure from yet another line-out and rolling maul with Christie going over to secure the bonus point.

The introduction of England scrum-half Danny Care pepped up the home side’s attacking edge but every time they threatened the Saracens line, wave after wave of attacks were repelled magnificently.

Having soaked up Quins’ pressure Saracens remained lethal on the counter-attack and although Hartley had another score rubbed off by the TMO, the visitors scored a fifth try as Goode’s lovely hands set up Parton to finish in the corner.

Goode continued his masterclass with a delightful grubber kick off the back of a scrum that allowed Lewington to go over to take Sarries’ run to 38 points without reply.

Quins, who will rue far too many fruitless trips into Saracens’ red zone, did eventually break the line when World Cup winner Esterhuizen stormed his way through the 22 to make sure the home side had the final say on the scoring as Smith added the extras.


Harlequins: David; Green, Beard, Esterhuizen, Lynagh; Smith, Porter; Marler, Walker, Collier, Launchbury, Hammond, Lamb, W Evans, Dombrandt (capt).

Replacements: Riley, Baxter, Lewis, Cunningham-South, Chisholm, Care, J Evans, Joseph.

Saracens: Goode; Lewington, Lozowski, Tompkins, Daly; Farrell (capt), van Zyl; M Vunipola, George, Riccioni, Itoje, Tizard, Gonzalez, Christie, B Vunipola.

Replacements: Dan, Mawi, Clarey, Willis, Earl, Davies, Hartley, Parton.

Referee: Matthew Carley

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