Premiership: Harlequins 17-10 Saracens

By Emma ThurstonBBC Sport
Tim Visser scoring Harlequins' opening try
Tim Visser scored Harlequins' opening try as they raced into a 17-0 lead
Harlequins (17) 17
Tries: Visser, Walker Cons: Sweil 2 Pens: Sweil
Saracens (0) 10
Try: Wigglesworth Con: Lozowski Pen: Spencer

Harlequins ended champions Saracens' unbeaten start to the season with a gutsy victory at The Stoop.

Tries from Tim Visser and Charlie Walker helped the home side into a 17-0 lead by half-time.

Saracens clawed themselves back with a Richard Wigglesworth try immediately after the break before a Ben Spencer penalty further reduced the deficit.

Harlequins had lock James Horwill sin-binned late on but held on to ensure a memorable win on home turf.

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Harlequins had won just one of their opening three matches while Saracens had a 100% record, but it was the hosts that flew out of the blocks.

Tim Sweil landed an early penalty before Scotland international Visser read Alex Lozowski's floated pass to add a converted interception try.

The home side's dominance continued as Walker finished a simple overlap out wide to extend their lead to 17-0.

For 40 minutes, Saracens looked uncharacteristically flustered, making key handling errors and unable to trouble the scoreboard.

Last year's Premiership and European Champions Cup winners hit back early in the second half, with winger Mike Ellery the instigator.

The former England sevens winger set up scrum-half Wigglesworth with a well-weighted chip and Lozowski added the conversion, but the fly-half missed two further penalties for the north Londoners.

Despite Horwill's yellow card for offside and another Saracens penalty, this time from the boot of Spencer, Harlequins kept their heads for a second win of the season.

Harlequins director of rugby John Kingston told BBC Radio London:

"The whole performance, both when we had the ball and when they had the ball, was tremendous.

"You know the level at which you've got to play to down the European champions.

"What we've got to do is try to follow that through and realise that those are the levels we've got to be at if we want to be at the top table.

"The whole all-round performance was exceptional. Twenty-two players got on and it was a 22-man effort on the field and many more off-field as well. I was really pleased with it."

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall told BBC Radio London:

"It's disappointing to lose, it always is. It's our first set-back in a while and over the last couple of years, we've always responded well to these types of situations.

"I'm hoping we can do the same again this week.

"Harlequins are a good side, who have a lot of good players and you need to be on it wherever you go. When you're 17-0 behind, it's a bit of a mountain to climb.

"But, we gave ourselves a chance in the second half, which is encouraging."

Harlequins: Brown; Walker, Hopper, Roberts, Visser; Swiel, Care (capt); Marler, Buchanan, Collier, Merrick, Horwill, Robshaw, Wallace, Chisholm.

Replacements: Gray, Lambert, Sinckler, Twomey, Ward, Dickson, Jackson, Alofa.

Saracens: Goode; Ellery, Bosch, Barritt (capt), Wyles; Lozowski, Wigglesworth; M. Vunipola, Brits, Du Plessis, Itoje, Hamilton, Rhodes, Wray, B. Vunipola.

Replacements: George, Barrington, Figallo, Brown, Spurling, Spencer, Tompkins, Gallagher.

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