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Sarries make statement with Quins rout

WRAP: Mark McCall has admitted even he was surprised by the scale of Saracens’ dominance in a crushing 52-7 victory over Harlequins.

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More than 60,000 people were treated to a Sarries special in north London, with four tries in each half sending them above their fiercest rivals into second.

Friday’s shock results provided a reminder of the Premiership’s unpredictability and few could have foreseen this contest being quite as one-sided.

“We weren’t expecting the scoreline and weren’t expecting the performance to be quite at that level,” said Director of Rugby McCall.

“We understand, however, that sometimes when you are dominant it’s not always reflected on the scoreboard – this was.

“This was about the players because we only had two training sessions and tried to keep it as simple as we could. Quins are a handful so to defend the way we did and keep on fighting in the second half was very encouraging for us”

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It was a particularly special day for captain and fly-half Owen Farrell, who celebrated 250 club appearances. Lawrence Dallaglio hailed Farrell as Saracens’ greatest ever player pre-match and this was some way to start his swansong ahead of a summer move to French giants Racing 92.

McCall said of Farrell’s performance: “Incredible, he played as good as I have seen him play for a very long time. It looked like it mattered to him and he is going to be like that for the rest of the season, hopefully.

“He didn’t enjoy being the centre of attention during the week but the players wanted to make it a special occasion because they think so highly of him.”

Quins have now lost each of their last eight meetings against their London rivals and do not have long to patch up their wounds, with fellow title-chasers Bath heading to The Stoop next Saturday.

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The quarters have developed a reputation for producing stunning comebacks in recent times, but four Saracens tries inside 26 minutes left them desperately trying to salvage some pride.

“The first-half performance caused all the problems,” said coach Danny Wilson.

“Our lack of collision on both sides of the ball, our lack of physicality, we couldn’t get on the front foot which led to a half-time scoreline [24-]) where you are chasing the game.

“When you are chasing the game and trying to score, you end up overplaying into a defence which if they turn you over, you’re in a whole world of trouble.

“Our defence was really poor and that’s the story of the game. We will bounce back at home against Bath, we have to because this league is so tight and one or two wins or losses makes all the difference.”

Saturday’s scores and scorers…

Exeter Chiefs 25-16 Newcastle Falcons

The scorers

For Exeter Chiefs
Tries: Fisilau, Wimbush, Sio, Tuima
Con: Hodge
Pen: Hodge

For Newcastle Falcons
Tries: Stevenson
Cons: Connon
Pens: Connon 3

Teams

Exeter: 15 Josh Hodge, 14 Dan John, 13 Zack Wimbush, 12 Joe Hawkins, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Harvey Skinner, 9 Will Becconsall, 8 Greg Fisilau, 7 Richard Capstick, 6 Ethan Roots, 5 Lewis Pearson, 4 Rusi Tuima, 3 Josh Iosefa-Scott, 2 Jack Yeandle (captain), 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Dan Frost, 17 Danny Southworth, 18 Marcus Street, 19 Jacques Vermeulen, 20 Ross Vintcent, 21 Stu Townsend, 22 Will Haydon-Wood, 23 Will Rigg.

Newcastle: 15 Elliott Obatoyinbo, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Tom Penny, 12 Rory Jennings, 11 Ben Stevenson, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Sam Stuart, 8 Callum Chick (captain), 7 Guy Pepper, 6 Freddie Lockwood, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 4 Philip van der Walt, 3 Eduardo Bello, 2 Jamie Blamire, 1 Adam Brocklebank.
Replacements: 16 Bryan Byrne, 17 Phil Brantingham, 18 Richard Palframan, 19 John Kelly, 20 Sam Cross, 21 Ben Douglas, 22 Cameron Hutchison, 23 Matias Moroni.

Referee: Jack Makepeace
Assistant referees: Anthony Woodthorpe, Gareth Holsgrove
TMO: Andrew Jackson

Saracens 52-7 Harlequins

The scorers

For Saracens
Tries: Lewington, Dan 2, Maitland 2, Cinti, Gonzalez, Goode
Cons: Farrell 6

For Harlequins
Try: Dombrandt
Con: Smith

Teams

Saracens: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Rotimi Segun, 13 Lucio Cinti, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Alex Lewington, 10 Owen Farrell (captain), 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Ben Earl, 6 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 5 Hugh Tizard, 4 Theo McFarland, 3 Christian Judge, 2 Theo Dan, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Eroni Mawi, 18 Marco Riccioni, 19 Nick Isiekwe, 20 Tom Willis, 21 Andy Christie, 22 Gareth Simpson, 23 Alex Goode.

Harlequins: 15 Tyrone Green, 14 Louis Lynagh, 13 Oscar Beard, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Cadan Murley, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care, 8 Alex Dombrandt, 7 Will Evans, 6 Stephan Lewies (captain), 5 George Hammond, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Will Collier, 2 Jack Walker, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Sam Riley, 17 Fin Baxter, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Irne Herbst, 20 Will Trenholm, 21 Max Green, 22 Luke Northmore, 23 Nick David.

Referee: Christophe Ridley
Assistant referees: Joe James, Simon Harding
TMO: Stuart Terheege

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