Sarries edge a thriller at the Stoop to open campaign with a win


Saracens came from 17-0 down to beat Harlequins in a pulsating London derby at the Stoop on Saturday.

A brace of tries from Cadan Murley inside nine minutes gave Quins the ideal start. A further try from Joe Marchant made sure the hosts went into the break leading 24-12. But 18 second half points from the visitors was enough to seal victory.

After an immaculately observed minute silence in remembrance of her Majesty The Queen there followed the singing of the national anthem which was sung by Camilla Kerslake-Robshaw with a sold out Stoop joining in.

Harlequins opened the scoring after just four minutes following a line out and maul, the ball was sent wide to  Murley on the left wing who dived over in the corner. Fly Half Tommy Allan added the extras to give the hosts the perfect start.

The flying start got even better five minutes later. A counter ruck saw the ball spill free with Alex Dombrandt collecting to send the ball to Murley who raced down the touchline to score his second of the afternoon. Allan added the extra points with Harlequins racing into an early 14-0 lead after only nine minutes.

Another three points were added to the total from the boot of Allan with a penalty kick just inside Sarries half as Harlequins continued to dominate proceedings with Saracens looking well off the pace.

Lat seasons losing finalists were looking for a response and with their first meaningful foray into Quins 22 they scored when Nick Tompkins away in the corner. Owen Farrell in front of the watching England coach Eddie Jones saw his effort drift wide of the posts.

Saracens were right back in the game when excellent hands from the visitors saw them set up Max Malins to cross in the corner. This time Farrell was successful with the extra points, with Saracens cutting the gap to five points.

The next try in the half was always going to be crucial, and it fell to the hosts when Dombrandt intercepted with an offload to  Marchant who went over in the corner. England international Dombrandt was then replaced by Archie White. Allan added the extras to give Quins a 12 point buffer at the break, leading 24-12.

Saracens drew first blood in the second half when Harlequins over played in their 22 and were caught out with Malins pouncing for his second try of the afternoon. Once again Farrell’s inconsistent afternoon with the boot continued with another missed kick from the tee.

However, Saracens kept knocking on the door and the first time in the match took the lead in the 62nd minute after Nick Tompkins spotted a gap to touch down. With Farrell converting it gave Saracens a slender three point lead which was wiped out almost immediately with a Allan penalty to make the scores level, only for Quins to be penalised with Elliot Daly nudging Sarries back into the lead.

With the game on a knife edge, Saracens won a crucial penalty with just three minutes remaining, only for Quins to win a penalty back. With the clock in the red Saracens won a turnover to finish the game and hang on to open up their Gallagher Premiership campaign with a win whilst Quins came away from the game with a losing bonus point.

Harlequins  27     vs       Saracens 30

                         Gallagher Premiership Saturday 17th September 2022

                                      Peter Moore at the Stoop

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