Search

Saracens 39 Harlequins 17: World record crowd sees Saracens blast Quins to go top

17:28 22 March 2014

Chris Ashton of Saracens dives over for the first try. Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

Chris Ashton of Saracens dives over for the first try. Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

2014 Getty Images

It was a day for smashing records in the capital today in all codes of football as Wembley Stadium broke the barrier for the world’s biggest club rugby crowd with 83,889 fans watching Saracens thrash London rivals Harlequins 39-17 in the Premiership.

The scoreboard annouces that the match is a world record attendance for a club rugby match. Photo by David Rogers/Getty ImagesThe scoreboard annouces that the match is a world record attendance for a club rugby match. Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

While in west London the soccer fraternity witnessed Chelsea ruin Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s landmark 1,000th game in charge with a record 6-0 scoreline, the hallowed Wembley turf, most fondly associated with soccer, witnessed a feast of scores with the oval-ball.

Wembley has seen many marvellous feats of Association Football but wing Chris Ashton set Sarries on their way with 70-metre rugby try stunner worthy of some of the venue’s classic moments.

This fixture and this venue saw the world record rugby attendance smashed in 2012, when Quins came out on top, but that was never on the cards today as Sarries duo George Kruis and Owen Farrell added to the first half score.

Harlequins, who were the architects of their own downfall with hospital passes for two of those tries, notched through Karl Dickson.

George Kruis of Saracens dives over for a try. Photo by David Rogers/Getty ImagesGeorge Kruis of Saracens dives over for a try. Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

Sam Smith narrowed the deficit four minutes into the second period but Jacques Burger secured the bonus point which was quickly followed by news that Saracens were the new Premiership leaders following Northampton Saints defeat at Sale Sharks.

Marcelo Bosh put the icing on the cake in the final minute with a fifth try, dancing through the Quins defence to touchdown between the sticks. Charlie Hodgson added the extras with the final kick after coming on for Farrell, whose 17-point haul saw him deservedly named man-of-the-match.

At the finish it was all smiles for the north half of London’s Premiership elite, though a dampener was put on the early proceedings when top scorer David Strettle was stretchered off in a neck brace after Maurie Fa’asavalu pole-axed the former Quin with a forearm smash that could easily have seen the back row dismissed.

The replays of the incident did not look pretty but director of rugby Mark McCall would not be drawn on the incident afterwards, saying: “I didn’t see the angle everyone is talking about, so I can’t comment on it.

Karl Dickson of Harlequins goes over to score. Photo by Clive Rose/Getty ImagesKarl Dickson of Harlequins goes over to score. Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

“It would be foolish for me to say anything. David is OK. He’s pretty shaken up but he’s OK.”

A recovered Strettle took a seat on the bench in the second half, having missed his wing partner’s intercept score as part of 27 first period points. With the scoreboard still unblemished Quins had engineered an overlap and should have crossed the whitewash themselves but Nick Easter tried an audacious pass that spooned in the air and was gobbled up by Ashton who was never going to be caught once he’d eluded Ugo Monye on his own 22 line. The long range score was completed with his trademark swan dive celebration and soon after his side were flying again when Kruis skipped through a gaping hole in the Quins rearguard to dot down between the posts.

The Twickenham side rallied with a sniping Dickson score that his rested scrum-half colleague Danny Care would have been proud of - but they then threw away more points.

A third successful penalty from Farrell preceded the England goal-kicker taking full advantage of a horror pass inside Quins’ own 22 from opposite number Nick Evans. The Sarries fly-half scored, just as he had last weekend for the Red Rose in Italy, and he converted his own score for a 27-10 cushion at the interval.

Owen Farrell of Saracens celebrates after scoring a try. Photo by David Rogers/Getty ImagesOwen Farrell of Saracens celebrates after scoring a try. Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

Smith reduced the arrears early on, running through Richard Wigglesworth by the corner flag after Saracens appeared to have seen off danger by halting a maul on their try-line. Evans added the extras after Saracens had been reduced to 14 men moments before the score when captain Steve Borthwick was yellow carded.

But Quins could not put the squeeze on their rivals who shut up shop and, once restored to a full deck, claimed a bonus point try through some quick lineout thinking.

Hooker Schalk Brits played a short one-two with first man Kruis and skipped down the wing before offloading for Burger to ram his way over. Farrell missed for the first time in the match with a wayward conversion but Bosch claimed a fifth score with his side already home, hosed and buoyed by a tannoy announcement which informed Wembley that they were also the new Premiership leaders - by three points.

It was a big day for Saracens and a big day for rugby.

Sam Smith of Harlequins dives over for a try. Photo by David Rogers/Getty ImagesSam Smith of Harlequins dives over for a try. Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

Saracens: Goode, Ashton, Bosch, Barritt, Strettle, Farrell, Wigglesworth, Vunipola, Brits, Johnston, Borthwick (c), Kruis, Wray, Burger, Joubert

Replacements (all used): George, Barrington, Stevens, Botha, Brown, De Kock, Hodgson, Taylor

Saracens' Jacques Burger celebrates scoring a try. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA WireSaracens' Jacques Burger celebrates scoring a try. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Harlequins: Lindsay-Hague, Smith, Hopper, Casson, Monye, Evans, Dickson (Stuart), Marler (Lambert), Gray (Ward), Sinckler (Doran-Jones), Kennedy, Robson, Fa’asavalu, Wallace, Easter (c)

Replacements not used: Trayfoot, Guest, Grimoldby

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth

Saracens' Marcelo Bosch on his way to scoring a try. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA WireSaracens' Marcelo Bosch on his way to scoring a try. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Attendance: 83,889 (WORLD RECORD)

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Sports News

Yesterday, 22:30
Michel Vorm (left) slides in to tackle Liverpool's Sadio Mane

Reserve goalkeepers can be easily forgotten - just ask Michel Vorm.

Saturday, August 27, 2016
Danny Rose (right) celebrates his leveller at White Hart Lane. Pic: Steve Paston/PA Wire

Danny Rose cancelled out James Milner’s first-half penalty with a second-half equaliser as Spurs drew 1-1 with Liverpool at White Hart Lane. Here are five talking points.

Friday, August 26, 2016
Gary McCann has played for and managed Hendon in memorable FA Cup ties. Pic: Andrew Aleksiejczuk

In the latest of a series of features casting the spotlight on local football fans, David Ballheimer reveals his favourite players and his most memorable matches during his time following Hendon.

Friday, August 26, 2016
Middlesex bowler Tim Murtagh

With just a month of the season remaining, Middlesex appear better-placed to become county champions than at any time since their last title 23 years ago.

Thursday, August 25, 2016
Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha (right) could soon be lining up alongside Tottenham's Victor Wanyama (left) after Spurs made a move to sign the 23-year-old today

Mauricio Pochettino admits he would like to sign a pacy attacking midfielder before the end of the transfer window as Tottenham seek to bring Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha to White Hart Lane.

Thursday, August 25, 2016
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino admits he is frustrated that a host of his players will be departing for international duty again after this weekend’s round of fixtures.

Thursday, August 25, 2016
Laura Hirai in action for the Great Britain Under-19 team at the ESF Junior Womens European Softball Championship in Barcelona

Like most 16-year-olds, Laura Hirai’s primary concern today (Thursday) is her GCSE results. But four days after the end of the Rio 2016 Olympics, when the baton was passed to Tokyo and a new four-cycle began, the teenager is also dreaming about being involved in the 2020 Games.

Thursday, August 25, 2016
Wingate & Finchley goalkeeper Shane Gore. Pic: Martin Addison

Filling the well-worn boots of Bobby Smith doesn’t faze Shane Gore – it’s actually a case of déjà vu for Wingate & Finchley’s new No1.

PROMOTED CONTENT

The showroom is located in Hayes

After 25 years as a trade-only business, family-run door manufacturers Composite Door Master are set to open their first public showroom in Hayes this weekend.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

You could win £15,000 to spend on either their mortgage or a deposit towards the home of their dreams

Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a period of time when you simply don’t have to worry about finding the money each month to pay your mortgage? When you don’t have to put money aside from your monthly income, or worry about having to afford other essential outgoings?

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now