Home comforts edge closer as Fraser fires Sarries past Quins
PUBLISHED: 13:25 25 March 2013 | UPDATED: 11:36 26 March 2013
Will Fraser thinks the 27-12 victory over Harlequins could give Saracens a slight psychological edge in their Premiership title hunt but insisted that doing the double over their London rivals is just another step closer to a play-off semi-final at home.
The flanker continued his impressive season for Sarries, scoring the second of two tries and he played a prominent role in a forward-line that shut out the champions’ attack at a freezing Allianz Park yesterday.
It moved Saracens five points clear at the summit of the league and also struck a blow to Harlequins who slipped to third place, eight points behind the 2011 champions.
Asked if the victory and the manner of the triumph could give the Premiership leaders a psychological advantage over the current kings of England, Fraser said: “Maybe, yeah.
“At the end of the day, the top two get home semis. Obviously you want to finish top but whether you finish first or second, you’ve got a home semi and then it’s all to play for.
“We’ll keep going, keep playing and hopefully put ourselves in the best position we can.”
Fraser almost scored in the first half prior to Schalk Brits forcing his way over the whitewash to hand Sarries a commanding 17-9 lead. But the back row got his rewards after the half time interval with a magnificent try that owed a great deal to a big break from Scotland captain Kelly Brown. Fly-half Owen Farrell – who kicked 17 points – then took over and deftly chipped the ball into the grateful flanker’s arms for him to dot down in the corner. With Quins undone by the quick thinking of the England half-back, Fraser just had to beat team-mates Alastair Hargreaves and Chris Wyles to the dropping ball.
He said: “Faz [Farrell] put in a brilliant cross-field [kick] and I’m being told that I stole it off a number of players but I just jumped higher so I got it.”
Quins’ only points came from the boot of Nick Evans as Saracens’ pack dominated their forwards and restricted the space for the Stoop side’s backs to exploit, but Fraser thinks there is yet more to come from his side.
“There are always areas you can improve but we knew that they’ve got a great attack, one of the best in the league, and we pride ourselves on our physicality and defence,” said Fraser.
“We knew that if we could get one up in defence then they’d have a tough day and things would be a bit easier for us. Luckily it panned out that way and the boys put in an awesome shift.”
The final 10 minutes saw Harlequins make a rare push for a score, which would have been merely a consolation, but the hosts still refused to bend with some resolute defending on their try-line.
“We pride ourselves on every facet of the game but our defence especially,” Fraser said, adding: “It was a massive effort for the boys on our line through I don’t know how many phases, but we kept them out and we take massive pride and confidence from that.”