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Match Reaction: Saracens 25 Harlequins 20

Saracens skills coach Joe Shaw declared his excitement with LV=Cup captain Maro Itoje, insisting there is plenty more to come from the 6ft 6, 115 kilogram 20-year-old.

Man-of-the-match Itoje led Sarries to a 25-20 win over London rivals Harlequins, who staged a second-half comeback having trailed 15-3 at half-time, but tries from Mark Lambert and Charlie Walker were not enough as they left with a solitary bonus point.
 
Saracens scored three themselves, through a Duncan Taylor charge-down, Mike Ellery and Jack Wilson sealing the four points in their opening LV=Cup fixture – leaving Shaw satisfied.
 
“We created so much in the first half and I was happy with the way things were going, we were maybe just forcing things which let us down,” said Shaw.
 
“Credit where credit’s due, Harlequins are a good side and our aim was to get down into their half and start again and they stopped us from doing that, taking their chances when they had them.
 
“Every single competition we go into as a club we take very seriously, we’re not a team that just wants to put the numbers in there, occasionally we will bring in some youth players for experience but we want to win every competition that we’re in.
 
“Maro is a fantastic talent. He’s led the Storm [Saracens’ A-League side] this year with maturity in the way he talks, he leads by example on the pitch – he’s a very calming influence for people who are older than him.
 
“He has got a lot more physical development to come, we’re very excited about him as he is growing every day, he disrupts maul defences when we go pack versus pack in training and in the next couple of years he’s going to go from strength to strength.”
 
Meanwhile Quins Director of Rugby Conor O’Shea admired the way his team, with an average age just shy of 24, fought back against an experienced Saracens pack boasting five internationals.
 
The Irishman admitted that unforced errors cost Quins but praised the mental strength of the young lineup.
 
“We tend to give up very soft points when we play Saracens but there are a huge amount of positives to take from the game,” O’Shea said.
 
“We could have nicked it at the end but every time we got ourselves back into the game they got a soft score.
 
“They have to learn from these games and we took the Saracens team-sheet, especially their pack as a massive challenge and tribute to those young fellas.
 
 “The mental fortitude to turn around how we played at the breakdown in the second half was admirable.
 
“I think a lot of young guys mentally answered a few questions out there, which is what we want.”

Saracens: Ransom; Ellery (Wilson 43), Tomkins, Taylor (Bosch 52), Fercu; Mordt, Spencer; Gill (Barrington 60), Spurling (Sharman 41), Figallo (Alo 52), Hamilton (de Jager 52), Botha, Itoje, Burger (Hankin 63), Joubert.
Replacements not used: Whiteley

Harlequins: R.Chisholm; Walker, Lowe, Turner-Hall, Lindsay-Hague; Grimoldby (Swiel 46), Dickson; Lambert, Buchanan, Collier (Sinckler 41); Merrick, Twomey; Trayfoot, Wallace, J.Chisholm.
Replacements not used: Ward, Marfo, Treadwell, Cheeseman, Stuart, Tikoirotuma

Saracens 25 Harlequins 20

Scorers
 
Saracens
Tries: Taylor, Ellery, Wilson
Conversions: Spencer 2
Penalties: Spencer 2
 
Quins
Tries: Lambert, Walker
Conversions: Swiel 2
Penalties: Grimoldby, Swiel
Sin bin: Lindsay-Hague
 
Referee: Leighton Hodges
Attendance: 7,012

For your definitive guide to the LV= Cup click here 

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