Saturday, 13th November 2021 @ 14:30
An entertaining Prem Cup clash at the StoneX Arena would see the travelling Quins fall just short of London rivals Saracens, with a youthful side displaying grit to overcome a first-half deficit.
Sarries would be the team to claim the first points for the day in North London, claiming tries for loosehead prop Richard Barrington and centre Dom Morris. There looked to have been a knock-on in the build-up to the home side’s first score, but the referee was happy and fly-half Manu Vunipola added both conversions for a 14-0 lead.
A Harlequin reply came with six minutes left in the first half as Academy hooker Jack Musk won a second breakdown penalty of the day for his side. Quins kicked to the corner and after a number of close-range attacks on the Saracens’ line Academy man Matas Jurevicius crossed for the score, muscling over the whitewash in the left corner to bring Quins into the fight. Fly-half Jamie Benson, another Academy man, added his first-ever points for the Club from a hard angle out wide to claim the full seven points.
Sadly for the men in the Famous Quarters, it would be Saracens who claimed the final word of the first half as flanker Theo McFarland rolled his way past defenders’ attentions to claim a third home score of the day with a few seconds left on the clock. Another Vunipola conversion and Quins headed into the changing rooms at half-time scheming to overturn a 21-7 scoreboard.
Number eight Archie White was the man to chip away at Sarries’ lead early in the second 40. After a lineout within the Saracens 22, the ball was spread wide as a number of heavy Quins carriers made dents in the opposite defensive line before White rolled away from defenders’ attentions to claim Quins’ second. Another tough conversion from Benson sailed between the posts, reducing the deficit to seven.
Saracens were quick in their reply, marching up the pitch to send McFarland over for his second score. Vunipola added the extras before Quins called on reinforcements, seeing Oscar Beard, Jack Stafford, George Head and debutant Makeen Alikhan enter the fray in place of Ross Chisholm, Lewis Gjaltema, Jack Musk and Jurevicius respectively.
Further changes came as Harlequins built pressure inside Sarries’ half, with two additional debuts in Hayden Hyde and Tom Osborne (Oxford University), with Academy man George Hammond also entering the field of play.
A close final half an hour saw both sides repel the others’ attacking attempts, with a distinct intensity arising from the Harlequins defensive line.
The Saracens defence would be the first to fall as Scotland international Huw Jones punched through a gap down the left touchline, drawing the final man before feeding fullback Nick David to run in Quins’ third untouched. Another difficult conversion for Benson sailed over to make it a seven-point game with five minutes left on the clock.
Quins had looked like levelling the scores two minutes later as Academy backrow Alikhan broke clean through the heart of the Saracens defence. However, a few more phases metres from Saracens’ line and the ball was held up, with Saracens taking a drop out to release the pressure.
Despite Quins displaying real fight and attacking intent in the dying seconds, a Saracens turnover would deny any hopes of a levelling score, kicking the ball into the stands with the clock in the red to seal a result for the North Londoners.
Final score: Saracens 28-21 Harlequins
Nick David, Ross Chisholm, Huw Jones, Lennox Anyanwu, Aaron Morris, Jamie Benson, Lewis Gjaltema, Archie White, Matas Jurevicius, Stephan Lewies ©, Hugh Tizard, Craig Trenier, Jack Musk, Simon Kerrod
George Head, Tom Osborne, Will Collier, George Hammond, Makeen Alikhan, Jack Stafford, Hayden Hyde, Oscar Beard
Elliot Obatoyinbo, Ben Harris, Dominic Morris, Duncan Taylor, Rotimi Segun, Manu Vunipola, Ruben de Haas, Andy Christie ©, Sean Reffell, Theodore McFarland, Callum Hunter-Hill, Cameron Boon, Alec Clarey, Ethan Lewis, Richard Barrington
Theo Dan, Sam Crean, Sam Wainwright, Ollie Stonham, Toby Knight, Ivan van Zyl, Brandon Jackson, Tom Mills