Jan 26, 2019
Match Report: Harlequins 12-32 Saracens
Saracens will have to wait until next weekend to determine their Premiership Rugby Cup semi-final opponents after overcoming 14-man Harlequins 32-12 at The Stoop.
Sione Vailanu cancelled out Josh Ibuanokpe’s early score for the Twickenham outfit and Max Malins’ penalty edged the Men in Black ahead.
Renaldo Bothma was dismissed for a dangerous carry just shy of three-quarters of the way through the first period but Quins grabbed next try – Elia Elia flopping for a five-pointer.
Outside centre Alex Lozowski kicked his first points of the day and followed his penalty up with a conversion to Joel Kpoku’s effort and knocked over the extras as Max Malins and Rotimi Segun crossed late on to seal the victory.
The match got off to a frantic start with both sides scoring inside five minutes.
Quins struck first through prop Ibauanokpe who used his sizable frame to crash over from close range, before a clever line-out routine saw Vailanu power into the corner in.
Lang’s conversion meant the hosts led 7-5 until his fly-half counterpart Malins nudged Sarries in front with a low, long-range penalty after excellent work from Tom Woolstencroft on the deck.
England back row Chris Robshaw almost gifted the visitors an opening when his loose pass towards Ross Chisholm bounced into free space but the full-back slid on the ball just in time to deny Dom Morris a free grubber to the line.
Then on 29 minutes, Quins went down to 14 men. Bothma, who had carried into contact on each previous occasion with extreme purpose and determination, led with his forearm which Morris caught the full force of and referee Wayne Barnes deemed the action reckless, sending the Quins Number 8 from the field.
Despite their man disadvantage, Harlequins came out for the second period all guns blazing and reclaimed the lead; Elia profiting from a strong, fast-moving rolling maul.
Lozowski added three from the tee in reply to make it a one-point encounter once more, and an excellent bit of defensive work turned into an important try for Saracens.
Lock Kpoku got his mitts on a Charlie Mulchrone box kick, collected the bouncing ball and his leg drive made sure he reached the posts to touch down.
The game was decided with 10 minutes remaining. Replacement Ralph Adams-Hale’s superb burst almost saw him bundle over but in the tackle, he showed maturity to offload to an onrushing Malins who dived under the sticks.
Manu Vunipola was introduced in the dying stages for his senior debut and his delicate hands allowed Segun to race over to round off an impressive afternoon.
A second win of the season at The Stoop for Saracens who will find out if they have topped the pool following Worcester Warriors’ derby day fixture against Wasps next Saturday.