I’m going to try to keep this to the rugby! Well do my best anyway, although I’m not loving the pre-amble on BT Sport, I was at the game but I’m watching back if I can bear to.
My own day started with lunch with two of my Harlequins friends, Sue and Henry, some good chat and a Costa, what’s not to like! We made our way to the ground in drizzle, that had the effect of lifting the temperature, hopefully it wouldn’t have an adverse effect on the rugby.
The Quins Supporters Association had put out a statement asking for rugby fans to behave as rugby do and should. A few ‘clever chaps’ tried to emulate the very amusing Celery Caps put together by the Gloucester fans, Cash Fez didn’t quite have the same ring.
I was looking forward to watching Alex Dombrandt play, I hadn’t seen him in the flesh and wanted to see if he lived up to the hype. I wasn’t disappointed, in that respect anyway.
This was a very tough day at the office for this Saracens team, Quins started at 100mph and pretty much kept that up throughout. Their first try came after just just 78 seconds. And that man Dombrandt was key he won a turnover from the kick off, then took the ball at the back of a Quins line out, he had a wonderful 1/2 with Danny Care who ran in to score.
Saracens had a bad time throughout the game with dropped balls and missed line outs, the line out has been a problem all season, and that fact certainly didn’t help in this game.
20 year old Cadan Murley benefited from a superb cross field kick from Marcus Smith, with the ball coming to him after a couple of passes, he scored Quins second after 11 minutes. The TV has reminded me that a rugby league favourite of mine, Sean Long, is on the coaching team at Quins, another league influence in the game!
Turns out I couldn’t keep on listening to BT Sport, so more of a brief report from here on in. Murley scored his second after 22 minutes and Smith’s conversion took the score to Quins 17 Saracens 0.
There was a small glimmer of hope for this Saracens team when Alex Lozowski touched down 7 minutes later. It was disappointing to hear that try greeted with boo’s, that’s not what the game’s about. I do think the people sitting close to us, a group of Saracens fans, had worked that out and were pantomime booing, I believe it wasn’t the case across the ground.
Manu Vunipola converted the try and the teams went in at half time with the score on Quins 19 Saracens 7.
Harlequins scored another 3 tries in the second half with Gabriel Ibitoye, Paul Lasika and Martin Ladajo touching down. The noise made by Quins fans can be impressive at the best of times, beating their London rivals in such a manner raised the roof.
Saracens scored a second try, with Dom Morris making his Premiership debut after a long lay off, touching down to those boo’s again.
Harlequins were good for their win, the final score being Quins 41 Saracens 14. There was some niggle in the game as there often is with these 2 teams. I was disappointed in Chris Robshaw, a player I’ve always admired. He seemed to be on the wind up throughout the game, getting his team marched 10 at one point. Jackson Wray, one of the calmest characters in the Saracens squad had clearly had enough of the game and the referee at one point as Sir appointed the young Vunipola as captain.
A game that should bode well for Quins, Marcus Smith truly shone along with Alex Dombrandt, and give a lot of reflection for Saracens. My afternoon finished with a very pleasant time with more Quins friends, this time in the Ex Players lounge with Nick and Paul. Where I met Nick’s sports crazy friend Amy and Paul’s sister Sonia. I was, I think the only person in a Saracens shirt and was made to feel totally welcome.
Time for an international break now, I’m finishing this off in Paris and looking forward to watching England at the Stade de France. With the team announcement today I am trying to understand why either Alex Dombrandt or Sam Simmonds aren’t starting at 8, but hoping Tom Curry does a good job. I’m not sure I am looking forward to the rest of the Premiership season for Saracens, but hopefully I’ll feel differently on game days.