Gallagher Premiership: Harlequins 20 Saracens 25
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Billy Vunipola’s try and 20 points from the boot of Owen Farrell gave Saracens a sixth Gallagher Premiership win out of six as they came from behind to beat Harlequins on Saturday night.
The North Londoners maintained the bragging rights in a cagey game after Danny Care dotted down in the first half and Joe Marchant went over in the second period.
Six penalties and a conversion from Farrell were enough to see them over the line.
Marcus Smith opened the scoring with a 40-metre penalty after Alex Lozowski got in the way of Care’s pass when retreating.
Renaldo Bothma came incredibly close to an opening try with a searing break through the middle but an excellent tackle by Ben Spencer, who wrapped Bothma up and won a penalty, saved Saracens.
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Farrell levelled the score 20 minutes in with Saracens’ first penalty of the day in a tight start.
The visitors piled on the pressure, picking and going for several phases before Vunipola went for the line, but the TMO showed he knocked it on and Harlequins came away unscathed.
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Only minutes later, Farrell doubled Saracens’ score with another penalty to take a slender lead, but Smith was on hand with a penalty of his own to square it up again.
And seconds later the hosts regained the lead after Care nicked the ball with a perfectly-timed interception to race clear and touch down under the posts on his 250th appearance.
In the last action of the half, Farrell added a third penalty to reduce Quins’ lead to just four points going into the break.
Saracens stormed out of the dressing room for the second half and instantly put pressure on the hosts but in a period of play that consisted of more than 40 phases, they had to settle for a penalty, coolly slotted by Farrell.
Harlequins responded in astonishing fashion, as Smith lined a penalty up but the wind got hold of the ball and Marchant leapt up to claim it, then dotted down upon landing for a surprising score.
Smith added the extras to give the hosts an eight-point lead that was cut 10 minutes later when Farrell knocked a penalty over, after his previous attempt hit the post.
Saracens turned the screw and their slick moves cut through Harlequins’ tired defence, with Vunipola on hand to dive over in the corner and Farrell converting to take the lead – the fly-half then adding a sixth penalty to see out the game.