Premiership: Harlequins 20-25 Saracens despite remarkable Joe Marchant try
|Harlequins (13) 20|
|Tries: Care, Marchant Cons: Smith 2 Pens: Smith 2|
|Saracens (9) 25|
|Try: B Vunipola Con: Farrell Pens: Farrell 6|
Billy Vunipola's try helped unbeaten Premiership champions Saracens come from behind to win 25-20 at Harlequins in a fiery London derby.
The sides traded penalties before Danny Care intercepted Ben Spencer's pass to race clear and score Quins' first try.
Joe Marchant then leapt spectacularly to catch and dot down a miscued Marcus Smith penalty to put Quins 20-12 up.
But the boot of Owen Farrell and Vunipola's try in the corner was enough to maintain Sarries' flawless record.
Saracens, who slip to second behind Exeter on points difference after failing to collect a try-scoring bonus point for the first time this season, have now won 13 consecutive Premiership matches and are still yet to be beaten since April, when they lost to Leinster in the Champions Cup.
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All the build-up at the Twickenham Stoop was about England full-back Mike Brown making his 300th Harlequins appearance, but it was his team-mate Care - in his 250th game - who lit up the first half with great anticipation and pace to score.
The home side had Paul Lasike stretchered off after a heavy blow to the head while tackling Nick Isiekwe, but would have led by more had Renaldo Bothma not failed to pick a pass when put clear.
Vunipola had earlier had a try ruled out after he admitted to referee Luke Pearce that he had knocked on before scoring, but his late effort from Alex Lozowski's pass proved crucial.
Farrell was accurate with seven of his eight kicks at the posts, earning 20 points for a Saracens side who had to contend with a strong wind against them for much of the opening 40 minutes.
Quins, meanwhile, have won just twice at the Stoop since December and drop to sixth in the table despite collecting a losing bonus point for their efforts.
Quins attack coach Mark Mapletoft:
"I've got a mixture of incredible pride and frustration.
"I haven't seen us defend as well as that for a very long time - it was incredible under immense pressure from them. I couldn't be more proud of the defensive effort.
"In terms of measuring ourselves against the very best it was a big step forward, but at key times we lacked a bit of composure."
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall:
"We're really pleased tonight because it was a game where we were dominant, but didn't have any control.
"It's incredible how we played in the last 20 minutes - we played with so much intensity, great control from the half-backs.
"We deserved to win the game by more probably, they were never in our half.
"It was good to give Billy 80 minutes, and some of his best stuff actually came in the last 20 minutes, which is really encouraging."
Harlequins: Brown; Earle, Marchant, Lasike, Visser; Smith, Care; Marler, Crumpton, Sinckler, Symons, Horwill (co-capt), Bothma, Robshaw (co-capt), Chisholm.
Replacements: Ward, Boyce, Collier, South, Kunatani, Mulchrone, Lang, Alofa.
Saracens: Goode; Strettle, Tompkins, Lozowski, Lewington; Farrell, Spencer; M Vunipola, George, Lamositele, Skelton, Kruis, Isiekwe, Rhodes, B Vunipola.
Replacements: Tolofua, Barrington, Judge, Itoje, Burger, Wigglesworth, Bosch, Maitland.
Referee: Luke Pearce.
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