González and Goode were the key players as Saracens easily defeated a remorseful Harlequins.
At the start of the week, Harlequins held the top spot. However, they have since lost their position. While the season is still ongoing, it is likely that the eventual 2021 champions will perform much better than they did in this match. Yet, the current champions are showing a determination to defend their title in 2023, as evidenced by their dominant performance in this game.
Their first two losses are now in the past. Those who were occupied in France were surprised to see Saracens give up 60 points to Exeter in the first game, but now that the World Cup players have returned, things are back to normal. This victory places Saracens ahead of Quins in the top four due to points difference. Everything is back to normal.
Unfortunately, not all players have returned without any limitations. Unfortunately, Ben Earl and Elliot Daly both suffered injuries before the game began. They both sustained injuries during the warm-up. It is believed that Daly has a minor hamstring injury, but there is more worry surrounding Earl’s knee injury. Although he was supposed to be a substitute, he appeared on crutches and remained on the bench.
Despite England exceeding expectations in France, the performance of the rest of their Saracens players was not surprising. Harlequins, who also had several international players, were unable to match the accuracy of the visitors in both their offensive and defensive efforts. This resulted in a humbling loss for Harlequins at home.
Even more frustrating, Saracens had another player injured only three minutes into the game. Alex Lozowski, who is not currently favored but still an international player, had to leave due to a knee injury. He appeared to be in pain.
“I believe we handled everything successfully,” stated Mark McCall, the director of rugby for Saracens. “We have had a few injuries in the past couple of weeks, but players are stepping up. It was a fantastic win tonight.”
Despite any injuries, there were numerous international players, both current and former, who undoubtedly added excitement to the away team’s swift attacks. Maro Itoje, who was recently the subject of contract rumors, is making a strong comeback. Additionally, there are also new talents to utilize. Juan Martín González, who scored Saracens’ first try off a strong lineout, was another impressive player.
Next was Alex Goode. While he may not currently represent England on an international level, his skill and talent persists. Out of all the questionable choices made by Eddie Jones in his selections, the refusal to include Goode was the most perplexing.
His interaction with Owen Farrell following Quins’ clearance was characteristically forward-thinking. He swiftly took advantage of the opportunity to counter. Itoje followed suit with a quick run of his own, and when the ball was passed to Olly Hartley on the right (substituting for Lozowski), he finished off the play with strength and determination. Saracens believe that the robust center will be one of their upcoming national team players.
At this point, the Quins were disturbed and had more cause for alarm when Saracens successfully executed another lineout and drive just a few minutes before halftime. Jamie George skillfully directed the ball into the goal area while the team moved forward.
In the second half, Saracens followed their usual pattern. They scored a bonus point by executing their third driven lineout try of the night. Andy Christie, who was dominant in the open field, showcased his strength in tight spaces by scoring the fourth try.
Quins looked at sea, but they were never going to let this lie. On came Danny Care to inject the usual pace. They were duly inspired, mounting their most sustained series of attacks, pounding at the Saracens line. But Saracens, as we know, can defend every bit as well as they can attack.
Quins struggled to handle the situation, despite the persistent urging from the line. They gradually retreated to their own half, where Itoje began to dominate. He caused a turnover and when González put pressure on Nick David, Hartley appeared to have a chance. However, it was later revealed that Itoje had illegally worn a Quins jersey during the lead-up. Nevertheless, Saracens were awarded a penalty and managed to score from it. In the next instance, Quins were able to stop the driven lineout, but Goode’s impressive handling skills under pressure resulted in Tom Parton scoring the fifth try for the visiting team. Goode was also key in the sixth try, ten minutes before the end, as his chip was successfully chased down by Alex Lewington.
André Esterhuizen, a current champion of the World Cup, concluded the scoring with a consolation goal for Quins in the final minutes. It was not nearly enough to boost morale at the Stoop. However, Quins will have another chance. The standings are closely contested, as always. The World Cup seems increasingly distant.