Sarries edge Quins

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Published: Sunday 2nd November 2014 by The News Editor

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Saracens kicked off their LV=Cup campaign with a 25-20 win over London rivals Harlequins in an entertaining game at Allianz Park.

The home side led 15-3 at the interval and appeared to be in complete control only for Quins to improve greatly in the second half and run them close.

Quins were totally out of sorts in the first half as elementary errors presented their opponents with two tries and Saracens should have had the game firmly in the bag at the interval.

Duncan Taylor, Mike Ellery and Jack Wilson scored Saracens’ tries with Ben Spencer kicking two penalties and two conversions. Louis Grimoldby kicked a first-half penalty for Quins and the second half saw their resurgence rewarded with tries from Mark Lambert and Charlie Walker, with replacement Tim Swiel converting both and kicking a penalty.

Both sides selected strong line-ups. Saracens included Jim Hamilton and Mouritz Botha at lock with Jacques Burger and Ernst Joubert in the back row. Argentine international, Juan Figallo, signed from Montpellier made his debut at prop.

Quins had George Lowe and Jordan Turner-Hall as a formidable centre partnership with Luke Wallace and Will Collier both starting in the pack.

Spencer gave Saracens an early lead by kicking a third minute penalty and it was the home side who dominated the opening period. They looked to have scored the first try when following a line-out, Rhys Gill and Maro Itoje appeared to have driven over the Quins’ line but the television match official ruled no try.

Saracens continued to be the better side but failed to increase their advantage and it was Quins who came closest to scoring when N ils Mordt took too long with his clearance kick.

Ollie Lindsay-Hague successfully charged it down, but Sarries managed to scramble clear the danger.

However, it was another charge down which provided Saracens with their first try. Grimoldby’s kick failed to clear Taylor, who collected the loose ball to score with Spencer converting.

Minutes later, Saracens were over again capitalising on more errors from the visitors. Ross Chisholm missed a tackle on Ben Ransom to allow the fullback to feed Ellery before the wing brushed aside a poor attempt from Lowe to race over in the corner.

A Grimoldby penalty put Quins on the scoreboard but Saracens nearly had their third try when Nick Tompkins was forced into touch, just short of the try-line.

Trailing 15-3 at the interval, Quins had their best period of the match, immediately after the restart. They improved their line-out to keep the home side penned in their own 22 but they never looked likely to penetrate the strong Saracens’ defence.

After 59 minutes, Quins’ improvement was rewarded when a determined Lambert forced his way over from close range for replacement, Swiel, to convert.

The visitors must have scented a chance of victory but within a minute, they conceded seven points to the opposition as Wilson finished off some neat handling for a try which Spencer converted.

Back came Quins with a swift reply when Walker crossed in the corner for Swiel to convert with an excellent kick to set up an exciting last 15 minutes.

Quins suffered a setback when Lindsay-Hague was yellow carded for tackling Wilson in the air. Spencer was unable to kick the resulting penalty bur succeeded with one soon after.

Swiel responded with a penalty but Quins could make no further inroads.

Published: Sunday 2nd November 2014 by The News Editor

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