Match Report: Saracens Men 38-24 Harlequins
Saracens grabbed the Derby Day bragging rights with a 38-24 bonus-point win against Harlequins at Allianz Park.
Sean Maitland scampered over in the early exchanges, and Maro Itoje and Aled Davies both crossed before half-time.
Two penalties from Owen Farrell lengthened Sarries’ advantage before American Paul Lasike powered home for the visitors.
Replacement scrum-half Scott Steele snuck in for a third away score and Lasike’s second try brought Quins within seven point with five minutes left, but Alex Lewington ended any hopes of a comeback.
England captain Farrell was making his 200th club appearance and started brightly, exploiting space in behind former Saracen Nathan Earle with Maitland leaping highest to claim possession.
Harlequins were penalised at the following breakdown and were punished a phase later. Itoje took a looped Jamie George throw, shifted the ball to Billy Vunipola whose short rampage up the left created space for Scotland wing Maitland to cross.
A wind-assisted tee-shot from Farrell extended the hosts’ lead to eight ahead of an excellent close-range Itoje try.
An inside-out move involving Mike Rhodes and Alex Lewington released prop Sam Crean on a monster carry. The Senior Academy front rower travelled a good 20 metres before boshing full-back Mike Brown and passing expertly to Vunipola.
The Number 8 was hauled down inches from the line, though Itoje was on hand to squeeze over.
Sarries were racing away with the contest and added a third on the stroke of half-time. Full debutant Davies marshalled his troops well deep in Quins territory and sniped under the sticks for his maiden Men in Black points.
Marcus Smith’s drop goal midway through the first period was all Quins had to show for in the opening 40 but the Twickenham outfit came out with a change in approach after the break.
After Farrell had slotted two more attempts at goal, Paul Gustard’s side gripped the match by the scruff of its neck. Battering ram Lasike trotting in just shy of 60 minutes.
Steele then scored with a Davies-esque effort and hopes of a comeback were well and truly on when Lasike bombed over for his second.
However, it was too little too late and hope was diminished when Itoje’s knowledge of the laws saw him gather a deflected Sarries clearance and put Lewington on an easy sprint to put the result to bed.