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Saracens 39 Harlequins 17

22 Mar 2014
Saracens 39 Harlequins 17

Saracens reclaimed top spot in the Aviva Premiership table after Chris Ashton’s try set them on the way to a 39-17 bonus point defeat of Harlequins in front of a world record crowd at Wembley.

Without a win on their last three visits to the stadium, Sarries roared into a 17-3 lead courtesy of a length-of-the-field try from Ashton and George Kruis’s score.

Quins hit back through a creative Karl Dickson effort but Owen Farrell snaffled a poor pass from Nick Evans to put Sarries 27-10 at the break.

And while Sam Smith crossed with Steve Borthwick in the sin bin at the start of the second half, Jacques Burger secured the bonus point and Marcelo Bosch added a fifth to the delight of most of the 83,889 strong crowd.

During a ferocious start, Saracens lost David Strettle to injury after he collided with Maurie Fa’asavalu, Duncan Taylor taking his place.

And after the break in play Quins continued to attack, attempting to pick holes in the Sarries line but when their ambition got the better of them Ashton pounced for the game’s opening try.

Nick Easter received Dickson’s pass and in trying to help it on he could only divert it into the path of the lurking Ashton who took off from his own 22 to execute the Ash Splash under the Quins posts.

Farrell converted to put Saracens 7-0 up and while Evans narrowed the gap with a penalty on 20 minutes, the England fly-half slotted a penalty of his own to put Sarries 10-3 ahead.

Saracens extended their lead again before the half-hour with Kruis spotting a gap in the Quins defence, handing off Nick Kennedy and surging through the open space to score.

Farrell again obliged with the conversion but just as the game appeared to be getting away from Harlequins, they struck.

After Smith was taken to ground, Dickson picked the ball from the ruck and sold his opposite number Richard Wigglesworth a dummy and snuck through to dot down.

Evans’s conversion left the score at 17-10 with 30 minutes played but the visitors then undid all their good work.

First Farrell slotted a simple penalty and then on the stroke of half-time, Evans threw a loose pass that the England fly-half intercepted almost on the tryline, leaving him with the simplest of tasks to dot down and then convert for a 27-10 half-time lead.

Burger escaped action for what appeared a late tackle early in the second half but captain Borthwick was not so fortunate soon after when he was sent to the sin bin.

Quins took immediate advantage of their extra man, driving towards the Saracens line before Dickson fed Smith who finished in the corner.

Evans converted to leave the score at 27-17 after three minutes of the second half and the next score was always going to be crucial.

In the end it was Saracens who struck the killer blow, Schalk Brits showcasing his abilities in the loose and Burger scrambling over.

Farrell missed the conversion but Sarries were now 32-17 ahead and Bosch extended the lead with just a minute to go, Charlie Hodgson converting to ensure they went back to the top of the table in style.

For more news, try out Harlequins Match Report Saracens