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Sunday 31 October 2021

A pyrotechnic display welcomed the two teams onto the pitch in this classic London derby; a sign of things to come for the match ahead.

Harlequins entered this weekend second in the rugby union premiership table, just 1 point ahead of the visiting team, third place Saracens.  Both teams had players away on international duties.

Quins kicked off proceedings and earned the first line-out after Saracens box-kicked into touch just inside their own half.

The hosts earned themselves the first penalty of the game after fly-half Allan, brought into the starting line-up with Marcus Smith away with the England squad, was body-checked.  The ball found touch inside the visiting 22 and Harlequins secured line-out ball before Tizard powered over the whitewash, opening the scoring after 4 minutes; no conversion.  Harlequins 5 – 0 Saracens.

Goode restarted proceedings for Saracens and the visitors were quickly rewarded with a long-range shot at the posts after Quins failed to roll away.  Lozowski, in for Owen Farrell, lined up the kick and cleanly split the posts: Harlequins 5 – 3 Saracens after 6 minutes.

Another error from the hosts saw Allan kick the restart ball straight into touch handing an unnecessary scrum to Saracens on the half-way line.  As the fans in the stands charted to boost morale, a miss-pass from the visitors handed Quins a set-piece and the opportunity to clear their lines.

A period of football ensued with both teams sending the ball long then high in an attempt to gain an advantage.  Penalty to the visitors who found touch inside the hosts’ 22.  Saracens secured the ball and formed a rolling maul before passing the ball wide.  Saracens then knocked on under pressure from Quins, handing the hosts a scrum.

Harlequins fed and retrieved the ball quickly, passing out to the wing to make the most of an opportunity with several of the Saracens players still wound up in the set-piece.  The hosts, however, remained pinned down in their own 22 and Saracens earned another penalty; they took the lead after 13 minutes: Harlequins 5 – 6 Saracens.

Allan placed a clean kick into the opposition 22; Saracens then box-kicked back out which Green captured whilst leaping high.  This gave the hosts the attacking platform and momentum needed to cut a line through the defence with Murley being passed the ball to cross the whitewash.  Allan added the extra 2 points: Harlequins 12 – 6 Saracens after 16 minutes.

The hosts were on the front foot; the restart ball being gathered cleanly by Green who then put boot to ball, sending the ball along the wing before it trickled into touch inside the Saracens 22.

Quins pushed on but lost possession, only to retake it when the visitors attempted a grubber kick through.  Again Quins put boot to ball for a chase to the line; Saracens backtracking in time to touch down over their own line.

Another penalty to the hosts and Allan found touch 12 metres from the Saracens try-line.  The hosts secured line-out ball, formed a maul before passing to the centres.  A sloppy pass, however, ended possession and Saracens earned a penalty after Quins failed to release the ball having found themselves isolated.

Saracens, having found touch, then box-kicked from the line-out.  Quins called the mark and sent the ball back up the pitch.

Knock-on from Quins then handed Saracens another scrum just inside their own half; and fly-half Allan had to leave the pitch for a Head Injury Assessment; Edwards on in his place after 23 minutes.

Saracens broke away and Quins were then penalised for going to ground.  The visitors secured line-out ball just outside the Quins’ 22, formed a maul then released the ball.

Possession continued to change hands as a play for territory ensued.  Lynagh decided to end this kicking stalemate and made a run for the defensive line.  Walker then managed to wiggle his way through but Saracens would not let anyone gain too much territory easily.  The visitors stole possession and cleared their lines, earning themselves a penalty and a kick at the posts: Harlequins 12 – 9 Saracens, after 30 minutes.

Goode safely gathered the restart ball and Woolstencroft bowled out of the 22 before van Zyl box-kicked.  The visitors retained possession but with a strong defence from Quins, Saracens were forced to box-kick into the waiting arms of Green.  He made some ground before Care box-kicked and play once again switched from team to team.

A Saracens’ line-out in the Quins’ 22 was secured by the visitors but Quins stole possession; Lawday splitting the defence before offloading to Green who ran in and calmly placed the ball centre of the posts; Edwards converted: Harlequins 19 – 9 Saracens (35 minutes).

Following the restart, Quins were penalised for not rolling away; play was then halted for a Television Match Official check on a suspected illegal clear-out.  Yellow card shown to Quins’ no. 5 Lamb (36 minutes).  Saracens kicked to the corner, secured line-out ball but Quins stole possession and Care cleared their lines.

Saracens came again but were penalised 5-metres out.

‘Come On You Quins’ resonated around The Twickenham Stoop as the clock counted down to half-time.

Half-Time at the Twickenham Stoop: Harlequins 19 – 9 Saracens.

A feisty start to the second half by the visitors with Swinson shaking off a tackle from Harlequins scrum-half Care to keep momentum going.  They recycled well and passed out to the far wing for Morris to cross for a try just 2 minutes into the second half; converted.  Harlequins 19 – 16 Saracens.

Saracens seemed very spritey at the start of the second half; testing and pushing different avenues of the Quins’ defence.  They box-kicked, handing Quins possession, but this was short-lived as neither team seemed able to find a gap.  Care box-kicked back but it was just too long allowing the visitors to catch and call the mark, clearing their lines.

Saracens started bringing their replacements off the bench as Lamb returned for the hosts after serving his sin-bin (46 minutes).

Quins then earned a scrum inside the Saracens’ half.  Care fed and retrieved quickly, attempting a grubber kick through but Saracens intercepted and sent the ball back.  The hosts, however, earned a penalty as Saracens held on preventing a turnover.  The hosts found touch in the visiting 22 and earned another penalty with the visitors being penalised for going off their feet.

A roar from the fans as Club Captain Stephen Lewies came on for Harlequins after recovering from injury; Saracens in turn switching their scrum-half.

Quins kicked for the corner, secured line-out ball, formed a maul but tensions were quickly rising; Billy Vunipola being told to calm down.

Saracens secured the ball and box-kicked out but could not get any distance.  After juggling somewhat, Quins secured line-out ball and earned themselves a penalty inside the 22.  Despite only being 3-points ahead, they again kicked for the corner for a line-out.  The chants sounded around the stands.  The hosts secured the ball despite strong resistance from Saracens.

The ball was passed from one wing to the other but without breaking the defence; Danny Care opting for a drop-goal to get some points from this period of play.  Harlequins 22 – 16 Saracens.

The hosts then earned a penalty whilst defending their territory and kicked for a line-out at half-way.  Possession was secured and the ball passed swiftly.  An attempted grubber kick through ran long but an error from Saracens, checked by the Television Match Official, showed the ball had to be played from behind the touchline and not a 22-drop-out.

Saracens earned a scrum but Care was able to disrupt it enough to force the visitors back into their own 22.  Saracens, however, earned a a penalty just a few plays later and found touch still inside their own half.  Once again the visitors were probing the defensive line of Harlequins but could not find a way through, forced to box-kick.  Quins earned a penalty as Saracens held-on under tackle.

This time Harlequins opted for the posts but the ball was kept out by the near-side upright.

An unfortunate knock-on from Quins on the restart turned into an offside penalty.  Saracens closed the gap again; Harlequins 22 – 19 Saracens. 67 minutes.

Things worsened for the hosts as Saracens leveled the scores through the boot of Lozowski with just 8 minutes remaining.

Quins earned a penalty but could only find touch on the opposition 22  The hosts secured line-out ball  but play was sent back to the Quins’ 22 for a Saracens throw.  They passed out to the wing and back to the centre before releasing Wray to cross the line, putting Saracens ahead once again with just 3 minutes remaining; one of those taken up by the conversion: Harlequins 22 – 29 Saracens.

Quins opted for a short restart in the hopes of retaining possession but Saracens gathered the ball and box-kicked out.  Scrum to the hosts.

The clock turned red and Quins knew they had to retain possession and keep all in hand.  They recycled well but Saracens formed a strong defensive line, winning turnover ball before kicking into touch to end the game.

Full Time at the Twickenham Stoop: Harlequins 22 – 29 Saracens.

Harlequins earned a losing bonus point but switched positions with Saracens in the rugby union premiership table, dropping to third.

posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 9:33 pm  

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