Saracens grind out ‘ugly’ win in atrocious conditions and put pressure on Tigers


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Saracens 19 : 10 Harlequins

With all of the chasing pack for that lucrative fourth spot winning yesterday, the pressure was really on Harlequins going into this Sunday lunchtime fixture. Four points separated the Twickenham side in fourth with Sale in ninth, and with Quins currently at the head of a hungry chasing pack.

There was also the juicy possibility of leapfrogging Gloucester into 3rd with a bonus point win. But it was Saracens who put further clear blue water between themselves and the pack, chasing themselves with a stubborn if not occasionally ugly win.

Saracens were hoping close a 12 point gap on runaway leaders Leicester, a distance of now eight points with the two sides still to meet twice, starting on March 5th.

Despite playing into a strong first half wind, Sarries began well and Sean Maitland was one pass away from putting Ben Earl in on the right, but the pass just wasn’t crisp enough and a defender managed to foil it and save five points.

Three minutes later, they did score when Tom Woolstencroft grounded a pushover try after total Saracens domination of the opening exchanges. Only a meaty covering tackle by Tommy Allan prevented the score doubling as the home side exploited Quins’ disarray. At that point, it looked like Quins would not only waste their wind advantage but be out of it by half time.

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Even with the wind at their back, Quins wasted a penalty with a Andre Esterhuizen poor effort that had accuracy but went under the bar.

The visitors rallied though.

Danny Care forced his way over for the equaliser which Allan converted. Then on 24, Sean Maitland broke though the Saracens right after a period of pressure. Alex Lozowski missed from the touchline to leave it at 10-7 to the visitors.

The sides swapped penalties either side of the interval, before Lozowski extended Saracens’ lead to 16-10 and then to 19-10 as the game elapsed.

The second half will not make anybody’s highlight reel with little in running rugby to show for it but both sets of players deserve plaudits for playing rugby in such atrocious conditions.

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