Saturday, 24th September 2016 @ 15:00
For the second year in a row Harlequins stunned an unbeaten Saracens side as they ran out 17-10 winners at The Stoop.
First half tries to Tim Visser and Charlie Walker gave the home side a 17-0 lead as a sell out crowd was treated to an incredible first half from their team.
While Harlequins wouldn’t change the scoreboard again an inspired fighting spirit, combined with a solid set piece, allowed them to hang on for a memorable 17-10 victory.
Earlier in the day 14,800 supporters poured through The Stoop gates hoping for a repeat of last season’s 29-23 win.
A disappointing start to the 2016/17 season was almost immediately forgotten when a bright opening spell by the home side was rewarded with a penalty which Tim Swiel would kick over.
Only minutes later the crowd dared to dream that the 150th season was finally kicking into gear as Visser intercepted a loose pass in his own half to go over untouched. With Swiel adding the extras Harlequins had a 10-0 advantage after just five minutes.
By the 20th minute, the crowd had reached fever pitch as Harlequins went over again this time through Walker.
It was the forwards that had done the hard work, winning line out after line out and penalty after penalty as they pressured the Saracens defence. Finally the ball was spread quickly to the opposite wing and Walker made no mistake.
This would be the last time Harlequins would score but it could be argued they continued to get better as they put a defensive performance for the ages.
A ten minute spell late in the half would see Saracens camped out on the Quins line as they set up numerous scrums to pressure the Harlequins front row that had lost Joe Marler to injury in the first minute.
While they were guilty of conceding countless penalties, Harlequins finally forced a knock on and won the ball back as the crowd sprang to their feet in unison.
They cleared their lines and hung onto their 17-0 lead as Referee Maxwell-Keys blew his whistle for halftime.
In the second half it was Saracens who came out brighter. A piece of Mike Ellery magic set up Richard Wigglesworth for a try under the posts as they gap was closed to 17-7.
Tim Swiel would hit the posts with a penalty attempt down the other end but the territory stats was with the visitors.
Try as they might however, they could not make it count as Harlequins’ defence would continue to get the better of them. Chris Robshaw would make a huge thunderous tackle near his own line to win a turnover, as would Jamie Roberts near halfway.
Alex Lozowski had numerous chances to close the gap but missed two penalties from 40 metres out.
In the 77th minute he was finally successful with one, taking the score to 17-10 after James Horwill was shown a yellow card for being caught offside.
It set up a dramatic few minutes but Harlequins always looked steady and in control, and with the seconds winding down they won a final penalty to send The Stoop faithful into a frenzy.
A huge 17-10 win for Harlequins over their London rivals and hopefully a kick start to the rest of the season. They now face a tricky away fixture to Wasps before returning home to The Stoop to play Northampton Saints in two weeks time.