Harlequins 10-38 Saracens - Champions run in six tries in stunning win

Gallagher Premiership

Harlequins: (3)10

Tries: Esterhuizen; Pens: Smith; Cons: Smith

Saracens: (19) 38

Tries: Gonzalez, Hartley, George, Christie, Parton, Lewington Cons: Farrell 3, Goode

Champions Saracens produced a superb performance to ruthlessly dispatch Harlequins in a one-sided Premiership London derby at the Stoop.

Marcus Smith put Quins in front with an early penalty but it then became one-way traffic for the rest of the game.

Juan-Martin Gonzalez, Olly Hartley and Jamie George all went over as Sarries stormed to a 19-3 lead at half-time.

Andy Christie, Tom Parton and Alex Lewington piled on Quins' misery before Andre Esterhuizen's consolation.

Saracens' six-try victory over the 2021 champions, who had won their last four games, sends a message to the rest of the Premiership that they will take some stopping in their bid for back-to-back titles.

Their seventh straight win over their London rivals - and fourth on the spin in the league this season - sees them go above Quins into third place in the table.

Given the excellent form of both teams, expectation of a special night under the lights was high as these two old rivals, with their star-studded line-ups, prepared to take each other on once more.

Saracens' preparations, though, were hit in the warm-up with England stars Ben Earl and Elliot Daley pulling out with leg and hamstring injuries respectively, with Parton starting on the wing.

Once the pyrotechnics and dancing light show ahead of kick-off was over, the crowd were treated to an intense opening few minutes.

England's Smith wasted an early settler for Quins, surprisingly hitting the upright with a fifth-minute penalty in front of the posts from just outside the 22.

He made amends with his second effort from the tee to put the home side in front on 17 minutes but that merely stung Sarries into action.

No side is more accurate from their own line-out in the Premiership than the champions and they showed why again as Argentina's Gonzalez burrowed over from a rolling maul off the back of a five-metre routine.

Alex Goode, now 35, swapped passes with England captain Owen Farrell and sidestepped his way through a groping Quins defence to lead a 30-metre charge.

The ball was eventually worked wide to the right for Hartley, an early replacement for injury-victim Alex Lozowski, to dive in and dot the ball down on the line.

Saracens repeated their line-out trick on 34 minutes as George bulldozed over from another irresistible maul as they went in 16 points ahead at the break.

Despite shading possession in the first half, Harlequins desperately needed to sharpen their execution but their defence crumbled once more under pressure from yet another line-out and rolling maul with Christie going over to secure the bonus point.

The introduction of England scrum-half Danny Care pepped up the home side's attacking edge but every time they threatened the Saracens line, wave after wave of attacks were repelled magnificently.

Having soaked up Quins' pressure Saracens remained lethal on the counter-attack and although Hartley had another score rubbed off by the TMO, the visitors scored a fifth try as Goode's lovely hands set up Parton to finish in the corner.

Goode continued his masterclass with a delightful grubber kick off the back of a scrum that allowed Lewington to go over to take Sarries' run to 38 points without reply.

Quins, who will rue far too many fruitless trips into Saracens' red zone, did eventually break the line when World Cup winner Esterhuizen stormed his way through the 22 to make sure the home side had the final say on the scoring as Smith added the extras.

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall:

"We had the disruption and we dealt with that really well. It was great experience for Olly Hartley to play with Owen on his inside and Nick Tompkins on his outside. He did outstandingly well.

"Tom Parton looked fantastic on the left wing as well. We've picked up a few injuries in the last couple of weeks. People are stepping up and playing out of position. It was a really good win.

"We've had three good weeks now. The fundamentals which were poor at the start of the season have got better. Our maul was very effective here and so was our defence."

On Ben Earl's injury:

"Ben hurt his knee in the warm-up and it's too early for us to know how serious that's going to be. We've lost him probably for a while."

Harlequins director of rugby Billy Millard:

"It's disappointing but there's only one option and that's to make this a learning, be really honest with each other and move forward.

"We've got a massive game against Northampton next weekend and we've got to get it right.

"We've been so good so far this season and this is the first time we haven't had that consistent performance for 80 minutes.

"It's a wake up call and sometimes you need this early during the season, but it's definitely a wake up call."


Harlequins: David; Green, Beard, Esterhuizen, Lynagh; Smith, Porter; Marler, Walker, Collier, Launchbury, Hammond, Lamb, W Evans, Dombrandt (capt).

Replacements: Riley, Baxter, Lewis, Cunningham-South, Chisholm, Care, J Evans, Joseph.

Saracens: Goode; Lewington, Lozowski, Tompkins, Parton; Farrell (capt), van Zyl; M Vunipola, George, Riccioni, Itoje, Tizard, Gonzalez, Christie, B Vunipola.

Replacements: Dan, Mawi, Clarey, Willis, Stonham, Davies, Hartley, Harris.

Referee: Matthew Carley