Nov 02, 2014
Saracens edge Quins at Allianz Park
Saracens began their LV=Cup campaign with a 25-20 win over London rivals Harlequins at Allianz Park, running in three tries in front of a 7,012 strong crowd in north London.
Duncan Taylor crossed for the games first try after charge-down of Louis Grimoldby’s clearance, with Mike Ellery scoring his first try for the club on his senior Saracens debut before half-time. Jack Wilson added a score in the second half as Saracens saw out the contest.
Saracens took an early lead when half-back Spencer sent over a well-struck penalty from 40-yards after three minutes.
The home side thought they had added to their earlier penalty when skipper Maro Itoje emerged from a pile of bodies claiming to have scored from a dominant Saracens rolling maul, only for the match TMO to rule out the try.
Both sides enjoyed purple patches throughout the first half, but over exuberance and some over eagerness from both sides meant some chances fashioned wear poorly executed.
But after 25 minutes Duncan Taylor broke the deadlock. Harlequins captain Karl Dickson released the ball to young half-back partner Louis Grimoldby, and as he booted the clearance there was Taylor who charged down re-gathered and finished under the posts. Spencer converted.
Minutes later, Mike Ellery crossed for his first try of his Saracens career after some clever work from Ben Ransom released the England 7s star down the right-hand touchline to score – Spencer failed to convert. Quins registered their first points of the game when Louis Grimoldby slotted over a penalty kick after Gill was penalised at the breakdown. With minutes to go to the break Nick Tompkins had a try ruled out for a foot in touch, as Saracens went into their dressing room with a twelve point lead.
The start of the second half was somewhat subdued, with both sides a little more conservative in their approach straight after the break. Harlequins had the majority of possession and territory in the first 50 minutes, only to be repelled by some committed Saracens defence, with Jacques Burger, Maro Itoje and centre Nick Tompkins all excelling without the ball.
But Harlequins’ dominance in those opening exchanges would eventually pay off, when prop forward Mark Lambert barrelled his way over from close range – replacement fly-half Tim Swiel added the extras.
Lambert’s try seemed to reignite the contest, and almost immediately from the kick-off Saracens hit-back with replacement winger Jack Wilson heading under the posts after some clever build-up play from centre Marcelo Bosch and back-rower Nick de Jager. Spencer duly converted.
But Conor O’Shea’s side refused to yield, as Charlie Walker waltzed in minuted later after Karl Dickson broke the Saracens line in the build-up. Swiel converted superbly from the sidelines to make the scores 22-17.
With Harlequins’ tails seemingly up, they momentum took a swift swing when Quins winger Ollie Lindsay-Hauge was yellow carded for taking Jack Wilson out in the air.
As the game wore on Spencer slotted over another penalty after Richard Barrington forced fellow front-row replacement Kyle Sinckler into conceding a penalty. Harlequins stayed in the contest with a Swiel penalty minutes later as the tension continued to rise around Allianz Park as the visitors pressed for a late try.
But Saracens would see out the contest to register a win in the first game of the LV=Cup.