Narrow defeat for Harlequins
20th Sep 2022 | Rugby
Harlequins fell to a narrow 27-30 defeat to London rivals Saracens this weekend, with Cadan Murley claiming an early brace in a hard-fought first home match of the season.
Harlequins struck early to put the fans in the stands on their feet, with wing Cadan Murley delivering a brace of scores in just eight minutes as Harlequins dominated the early exchanges. Two successful conversions and a subsequent penalty from Italian fly-half Tommy Allan gave Quins the perfect start, 17-0 up after 16 minutes. A standout moment for the second score, with Dombrandt ripping possession off a Saracens carrier before feeding Murley for a lung-busting 70-metre try.
Shaking off the rust in what was their first game of the season, having been on a bye week during round one, Saracens managed to find their purple patch. The visitors' made gains through hard-running lines and smart offloads out of contact. The North London side sent fullback Elliot Daly in the left corner and then wing Max Malins in the right to hack Quins' lead down to five, with Owen Farrell converting Malins score but not Daly's to make it 17-12.
At the risk of allowing Saracens to head into the changing rooms with momentum at their backs, Harlequins were able to halt the flow and rediscover their footing after captain Alex Dombrandt scooped up a loose pass within the oppositions' 22, throwing a basketball-style pass over the heads of the onrushing defenders to allow Joe Marchant to race into the corner for Harlequins' third. Allan made it three from three from the tee, allowing Quins to head into the changing with a 12-point lead. Sadly, Dombrandt was forced from the field immediately after Marchant's score due to injury, replaced by Archie White. Half-time, Harlequins 24 – 12 Saracens.
Six minutes into the second-half and Harlequins were caught trying to do too much when clearing their lines in the backfield, with a loose Tyrone Green pass scooped up by the visitors and eventually spread to the right wing for Malins to claim his second try, with Sarries dragging themselves to within four points after Farrell made up for a missed conversion with a penalty.
Wales centre Nick Tompkins was the man to put Saracens in the lead for the first time of the day, darting through a gap in the defence a metre from the line. Farrell added the extras to take it to 24-27.
Despite Allan adding a penalty to level the scores, a 67th-minute Daly penalty eventually sealed a 27-30 win for the visitors. A losing bonus point for Quins and six points on the board from the opening two rounds of the competition.
Next up, London Irish in the Premiership Cup for a mid-week fixture on Wednesday night at The Stoop, with a return to the Gallagher Premiership away to Exeter Chiefs next Sunday.