Mar 24, 2013
Saracens 27 Harlequins 12
Saracens moved five points clear at the top of the Aviva Premiership with a dominant 27-12 victory over third-placed Harlequins at Allianz Park.
Hooker Schalk Brits and flanker Will Fraser scored the tries with England fly-half Owen Farrell kicking their other 17 points.
Saracens took the early initiative with Mako Vunipola almost powering his way through before three players hauled him down just short of the line. The early pressure produced a third-minute penalty for Farrell, cancelled out three minutes later by Nick Evans.
The New Zealander kicked Quins into a 6-3 lead after former England prop Matt Stevens was caught offside but Farrell levelled the scores after ex-England number eight Nick Easter went through on scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth at a ruck.
An excellent break by Chris Ashton split the visiting defence and released flanker Fraser, who was denied a try by Brown's cover tackle. The combined efforts of the Quins defence prevented Fraser from recycling the ball at the cost of a yellow card for Marler.
Sarries capitalised by scoring 11 points while the prop was in the sin bin. Farrell landed the resulting penalty before kicking his fourth in the 23rd minute.
Minutes later slick five-man handling move opened up the depleted Quins defence before Brits forced his way over for the game's first try but Farrell missed the conversion.
Five minutes into the second half Evans made amends for an earlier miss just before the interval to cut the gap to five points.
Saracens responded with Kelly Brown, Alex Goode and Ashton combining to put Harlequins in trouble again. Playing the advantage after Quins failed to release Ashton, Farrell produced a superb cross-kick into the arms of the unchallenged Fraser who touched down. Farrell converted to give Saracens a 24-12 lead.
Farrell missed a 58th-minute penalty shot but made no mistake 10 minutes later to stretch his side's lead to 15 points.
A yellow card for Ashton in the closing minutes saw Sarries finish end the game a man down and Harlequins tried desperately to make their one-man advantage pay but Saracens kept them out.