Borthwick's all-action game leaves Quinns looking lifeless
Harlequins 9 Saracens 22
Monday 21 September 2009
It was billed as a battle between the two pretenders to Riki Flutey's inside-centre spot for England but that never really materialised. Jordan Turner-Hall and Brad Barritt will be kicking themselves at missing a golden opportunity to impress Brian Smith, England's attack coach, who was at The Stoop to run the rule over two candidates for the No 12 jersey against Australia in November.
Both were starved of possession as Saracens won an often ugly kickathon. Indeed Turner-Hall came off with a left shoulder injury that could rule him out of the autumn internationals. It leaves Smith and England manager Martin Johnson with a problem. There are few stand-out alternatives to Flutey, who is sidelined with a shoulder injury. It may mean turning to Shane Geraghty, who has started the season well for Northampton.
Johnson will also be waiting anxiously for an injury update on his captain, Steve Borthwick. The lock was an all-action hero as he helped the Sarries pack turn the tables on Quins, but was forced off late on with a rib injury. Brendan Venter, the Saracens director of rugby, was full of praise for Borthwick. "You don't just want a fantastic captain and a tremendous guy, you want a guy who is playing good rugby. And he is doing everything," he said.
Sarries' pragmatic approach did for the error-prone Quins. Derick Hougaard, the fly-half making his full debut, booted three penalties, two drop goals and converted a try by Kameli Ratuvou early in the second half. Quins' second-half display was shambolic at times. They are rooted to the bottom of the table and maybe the effects of the "Bloodgate" scandal have permeated the squad. "We are snatching at opportunities and there seems to be an anxiety in our play," said John Kingston, their head coach.
Harlequins: Penalties N Evans 3. Saracens: Try Ratuvou; Conversion Hougaard; Penalties Hougaard 3; Drop goals Hougaard 2.
Harlequins: U Monye; D Strettle (J Drauninui, 63), T Masson (R Clegg, 58), J Turner-Hall (N McMillan, 71), G Lowe; N Evans, S So'oialo (G Williams, 69); C Jones, G Botha (T Fuga, 58), M Lambert (J Andress, 67, A Croall, 78), L Stevenson, J Evans, C Robshaw (T Guest, 64), N Easter, W Skinner (capt).
Saracens: A Goode; N Cato (R Haughton, 58); K Ratuvou, B Barritt, C Wyles; D Hougaard, N de Kock (J Marshall, 71); R Gill (T Mercey, 55), S Brits, C Nieto (R Skuse, 66), S Borthwick (capt, F Ongaro, 78), T Ryder (H Vyvyan, 29), M Owen (J Melck, 50), A Saull, E Joubert.
Referee: C White (Gloucestershire)
filmFilm producers sue Warner Bros for $75m over Hobbit films
sportNapoli 2 Arsenal 0: Gunners must now face either Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid or Barcelona in knock-out stages
Swedish stars ask fans for £195 pledges on crowd-funding website
voicesJust when you thought you could find a man, get married, and have a baby by the age of 35... it turns out you’re too late, says Grace Dent
musicAs Mariah Carey and Noddy Holder rake in the royalties from their classics, why there hasn't been a decent festive hit for 20 years?
theatreAuthor Daniel Rosenthal recalls the mishaps that almost brought the curtain down on the likes of John Gielgud and Diana Rigg
lifeAs the Royal Mail plans to phase out deliveries on two wheels, it's no wonder posties are in a spin
musicThe 21-year-old beat Ella Eyre and Chlöe Howl to win the honour
lifeFull of the joys and want to help your fellow man? December isn't the time to do it
techLuke Blackall reports on precision engineered prams and babygros that monitor your child 24-7
World Cup 2014: Football Manager developers predict the team of the tournament - but which England player makes it into the XI?
Roy Keane omits Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs from 'greatest' Manchester United team
Man cycles down water slide in incredible stunt video
Napoli 2 Arsenal 0 match report: Nightmare in Naples leaves Arsenal to battle giants
Transfer news: Wayne Rooney sparks Manchester United exit rumours after rejecting new contract talks - reports
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
- 2 John McAfee's $100 'anti-NSA' device: 'this is coming and cannot be stopped'
- 3 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 4 Is Facebook making us forget? Study shows that taking pictures ruin memories
- 5 Australia incest case: Filthy and severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding