Sep 12, 2014
Clinical Saracens stun The Stoop
Saracens left The Stoop stunned on Friday night with a clinical and ruthless display to win 39-0 against Harlequins.
The Londoners were 19-0 ahead at half time with Charlie Hodgson scoring all the points including a charge down special from the fly half and further scores after the break from Chris Ashton and Will Fraser rounded off a memorable night.
The early signs were good for the visitors as the first scrum of the game ended with referee Wayne Barnes penalising Quins and Charlie Hodgson sent his side deep into home territory. From the resulting lineout, Sarries went through the phases and it ended with the home side penalised once again, but this time Hodgson had a simple kick at goal to give his side the lead.
Midway through the half, Sarries looked to have opened the scoring when a searing break from Alex Goode on halfway ended with him releasing David Strettle who in turn set Richard Wigglesworth away. The scrum half then found Duncan Taylor running up on his inside but as he freed his arms to try and stretch for the line, Mike Brown’s covering tackle dislodged the ball. But from the resulting scrum, the visitors pack had the upper hand again and Hodgson’s penalty extended the lead.
But the try came minutes later. Hodgson flew out of the line to charge down a Nick Evans kick and the fly half had a simple run-in from 40 metres to extend the lead. And with the extra two points, it gave the visitors a 13-0 lead on the half hour.
That lead was extended minutes later when terrific chasing work from Chris Ashton forced the home side to concede yet another penalty in front of the posts.
Having scored all of the points in the opening 40 minutes, Hodgson found himself in the sin bin with the second period just three minutes old when he was adjudged to have deliberately knocked-on 40 metres from his own goal line. The resulting penalty from replacement fly half Ben Botica struck the upright.
Even with Hodgson off the field, Sarries were still able to build on their lead when Goode struck a penalty from the touchline on 50 minutes.
No sooner was Hodgson back on the field than the visitors found themselves back down to 14 men with this time captain Alistair Hargreaves seeing yellow. Referee Barnes appeared to waves his arms to signal the ball was out of the back of a ruck and Hargreaves stepped in to collect the loose ball, but Barnes then surprisingly went to his pocket.
That was the start of five minutes of pressure with the home side camped on the Sarries line but the white wall of defence never took a backward step and a turnover from Petrus du Plessis allowed Richard Wigglesworth to clear the lines.
To add salt into the Quins wounds, Hodgson then struck another penalty to extend the lead to 22-0 with an hour played.
Brad Barritt then got in on the act with a chargedown and although he was halted short of the line, the home side were penalised which ended in another three points for Hodgson and Rob Buchanan seeing yellow for Quins.
The lead was extended further with 10 minutes left on the clock and one again it came from great defence. A huge hit in midfield saw the home side lose the ball and Duncan Taylor hacked the ball forward and Chris Ashton won the footrace to the line leaving Marland Yarde trailing in his wake. Owen Farrell added the extras.
A few minutes later and a third try for the Londoners. Taking the ball from a lineout deep in Quins territory, the forwards drove over the line and Will Fraser touched down. Farrell added the extras to round off a fantastic team effort.