Gallagher Premiership Semi-Final Preview- Saracens vs Harlequins


After a season that has produced some outstanding rugby, we have reached the stage of the top four sides contesting to see who will be crowned Gallagher Premiership champions.

Twelve months ago, Harlequins had that honour after one of the finest if not the finest final ever see. Quins fought back to defeat Exeter Chiefs 49-38 for their first premiership title for nine years.

This weekend the current holders face Saracens in what promises to be a mouth-watering occasion, while top of the table Leicester Tigers face Northampton Saints in the other semi-final.

Saracens will go into Saturday’s game at the StoneX Stadium as strong favourites.

Sarries finished the season in second place seven points clear of third place Harlequins, having lost six matches to Quins nine.

This time a year ago, fourth placed Harlequins were given no chance at all against Bristol Bears. That looked spot on when Quins fell 28-0 down and looked dead and buried. However, this side are made of stern stuff and keep on proving all the doubters wrong time and time again.

Harlequins are also the only side who have reached the final four from last season which shows the belief that this bunch of players hold.

Looking at the stats, in the past 11 years the side finishing top of the regular season table has only gone on to win the title just three times.

Harlequins have already lost to Saracens twice in the league already this season, but on both occasions the sides were missing their key players with Marcus Smith and Owen Farrell not available.

Tomorrow, both these five-star attractions will be playing. What a head-to-head battle this should be.

This will be Saracens 12th appearance in the semi-final stage of the Gallagher Premiership Rugby, with a record of won seven and lost four. Their only defeat in their last six appearances at this stage was a 18-16 loss to Exeter in 2017.

Sarries seven game winning run in the Gallagher Premiership ended at the weekend with a heavy 54-7 defeat at Gloucester. However, Saracens did put out a much weakened side on this occasion.

Harlequins have played in five previous semi-finals, winning twice and losing on three occasions.

The StoneX Stadium hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for the Londoners. Having made eight appearances at the ground in all competitions with just a single success to their name being a narrow 30-29 victory in the Anglo Welsh Cup in 2017.

The two clubs have met just once before in a Premiership Rugby semi-final with Saracens running out victors 31-17 at the StoneX Stadium in 2014.

The talent that will be on view at the weekend will be a sight to relish. This encounter has the makings of being another classic, which could go either way.

Knowing Harlequins, they could well put their excellent fan base through another nervous eighty minutes and could even once again have to do it the hard way by coming from behind yet again.

Saracens Men team to play Harlequins:

1 Mako Vunipola

2 Jamie George

3 Vincent Koch

4 Maro Itoje

5 Tim Swinson

6 Theo McFarland

7 Ben Earl

8 Billy Vunipola

9 Aled Davies

10 Owen Farrell (c)

11 Max Malins

12 Nick Tompkins

13 Elliot Daly

14 Sean Maitland

15 Alex Goode


16 Kapeli Pifeleti

17 Eroni Mawi

18 Alec Clarey

19 Nick Isiekwe

20 Andy Christie

21 Ivan van Zyl

22 Alex Lozowski

23 Duncan Taylor


Harlequins Starting XV

1. Joe Marler

2. Jack Walker

3. Will Collier

4. Matt Symons

5. Hugh Tizard

6. Stephan Lewies (captain)

7. Will Evans

8. Alex Dombrandt

9. Danny Care

10. Marcus Smith

11. Cadan Murley

12. Andre Esterhuizen

13. Joe Marchant

14. Tyrone Green

15. Huw Jones

Impact Players

16. Joe Gray

17. Simon Kerrod

18. Wilco Louw

19. Matas Jurevicius

20. Tom Lawday

21. Lewis Gjaltema

22. Tommy Allan

23. Luke Northmore

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