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)
Arsenal have no plans to stock Petr Cech inspired caps in their club shops - yet
Radamel Falcao to Chelsea: Former Manchester United striker 'signs contract' to join Blues and is told to meet up with squad on pre-season tour
Copa America 2015: When does it start, what channel is it on and who should I support?
England vs Japan Women's World Cup match preview: Lionesses get to grips with the publicity – and opponents
Venezuelan TV host gets completely naked while reporting on Copa America win over Colombia
- 1 Reader dilemma: 'Our son is 34 with an IQ of 85, and spends all his time in his room. What will happen to him when we're no longer here?'
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 Russian officials ban yoga because it's too much like a religious cult
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Ginger Pride festival to take place next summer, organisers say 'time of bullying gingers is over'
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS
Tunisia beach attack: How can British Muslims respond to the latest outrages?