Richard Hill made a winning return to GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP action as Ben Skirving’s last-gasp try was enough to give Saracens a hard-fought win over Harlequins.
Early tries from Thomas Castaignede and Kameli Ratuvou put Saracens in control but the boot of Adrian Jarvis and a Michael Brown try gave Quins the lead with 10 minutes to go.
But Saracens had the last laugh when Skirving struck with two minutes remaining as the away side recorded their sixth win in their last seven games.
Hill was substituted just before Skirving’s try having made his last league appearance for Sarries back in May 2005.
The England flanker was part of six changes Saracens boss Alan Gaffney made from their European win over GRAN Parma while Jim Evans and Chris Hala’Ufia returned to the Quins line-up.
And it was Saracens who drew first blood within the first 45 seconds.
Glen Jackson’s turnover kick from just outside his 22 was chased and pounced on by full-back Castaignede.
Jackson comfortably slotted home the extras and six minutes later he was kicking another conversion after Ratuvou outpaced the Harlequins’ defence down the left wing to grab his fifth try of the season.
This time though the Kiwi fly-half missed his kick and on 26 minutes Jarvis got the home team on the board with a simple penalty.
The 23-year-old closed the gap still further from when he stroked over another penalty from just outside the Saracens 22.
And the deficit was cut to just three points five minutes after the break when Jarvis kicked home from 30 metres.
Moments later the Stoop erupted as David Strettle carried the ball over but their celebrations were shortlived as referee Sean Davey disallowed the try because of a forward pass.
Jarvis then missed the chance to bring the sides equal as he sent a long-range penalty inches wide of the post.
Saracens regained the initiative when the home side’s full-back Mike Brown was sin-binned for preventing quick release and Jackson kicked the resulting penalty.
But within seconds of returning to the field Brown made amends for his yellow card with his fourth try of the campaign.
The score came from a Harlequins scrum 15 metres out and the ball made its way out to Brown to dive over and Andrew Mehrtens, on as a sub, put the home side ahead for the first time in the night with the conversion.
Jackson then missed a penalty to restore Saracens’ advantage but with two minutes to go a scintillating run by Ratuvou brought the away side into the Quins 22 and Skirving was able to stroll over on the left wing to round off a pulsating game.