Saracens beat defending champions Harlequins 18-16 at the Stoop, the hosts' fly-half Nick Evans having a nightmare afternoon, missing five penalties
Last Updated: 30/09/12 6:05pm
A nightmare afternoon for Nick Evans helped Saracens on their way to an 18-16 victory over Harlequins at the Stoop.
It was a first defeat of the season for the defending champions, for whom their normally reliable fly-half Evans missed four penalties.
Scrum-half Danny Care scored the only try of the game but Evans' misses proved critical as Quins missed the chance to return to the top of the Aviva Premiership.
The first half hour was a battle of the boot between Evans and Owen Farrell - controversially picked ahead of in-form Charlie Hodgson at fly-half for Sarries.
Evans landed the first successful kick but then missed another and by 32 minutes Farrell had put his team 9-6 up.
Then - with Quins lock Ollie Kohn in the sin-bin - came a moment of pure magic from Care who dummied the defence, spied a gap and sidestepped over the line.
Evans converted to make it 13-9 at half-time, but two Farrell penalties - either side of another miss from Evans - made it 15-13 to the visitors.
Evans missed another from the tee - his third unsuccessful effort - but Saracens then lost George Kruis to the sin-bin and the Kiwi knocked over the resultant penalty - 16-15.
Evans had the chance to extend the lead on 72 but made a hash of a straightforward three-pointer, and Sarries went straight up the other end and earned a shot at goal themselves - and Farrell, who kicked six out of six for his team, was again equal to the task.