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Sarries and Quins in dour draw

26 Dec 2004
Sarries and Quins in dour draw

The first half was certainly not the festive fair the big crowd at Vicarage Road had wished for.

Maybe it was cold fingers or just too much Christmas pudding, but it was certainly not the quality of rugby one would have expected of a Zurich Premiership match.

Saracens dominated both the line-outs and the scrums against the poor Quins pack, but they never got out of first gear and thus never managed the continuity that was needed to build a scoring platform.

Having been in control of the set pieces, they should have put Quins away long before the break, especially considering the number of opportunities they had – given the number of penalties Quins hooker Ace Tiatia was giving away.

It was not surprising that the Quins coaching staff substituted Tiatia before half-time. While you couldn't question his commitment, he had clearly become a liability.

The only scoring in the first half came from Saracens in the 11th minute, with a Glen Jackson penalty from about 30 metres out – giving the home team a three-point lead at the break.

After the break things also took some time before the game produced anything for the crowd to cheer about.

Quins, who were still struggling in the set pieces, had a few early opportunities, but they did not look like turning those into points.

It was not until midway through the second half, when winger Gavin Duffy burst over for the first try of the match, that either team looked like bringing the match to life.

The conversion by Jeremy Staunton was wide, but André Vos' Quins team had taken a 5-3 lead after 61 minutes.

The Quins pack now started gaining some momentum and their driving play was certainly far more assertive.

It wasn't long before Quins fly-half Jeremy Staunton was in the perfect position for a drop-goal and he duly obliged – putting the visitors further ahead, 8-3 with just more than 10 minutes of regulation time remaining.

Saracens managed to come back soon afterwards, launching a series of raids on the Quins line.

While the visitors' defence managed to stop the initial raids, in which Sarries' imports – Mark Bartholomeusz, Glen Jackson and replacement Thomas Castaignede – were very prominent, the gap eventually opened for winger Richard Haughton.

He went over for the home team's opening try, to level the scores, but Jackson's conversion attempt bounced off the posts to leave the scores level at 8-all with five minutes of regulation time remaining.

Both teams had some late chances, but the game ended in a stalemate which left the large crowd rather disappointed.

It left Saracens hovering in mid table and Quins third from the bottom, three points clear of Worcester – with all the other Round 12 matches still to come.

The scorers:

For Saracens:Try: HaughtonPen: Jackson

For NEC Harlequins:Try: DuffyDG: Staunton

For more news, try out Saracens v Harlequins

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups

Match Page 2017-18 - Current Standing

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