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Aviva Premiership: Saracens hit back to remains unbeaten at the Stoop
- Saturday's Aviva Prem preview
- Sunday's Aviva Prem preview
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Chris Ashton scored the only try as Saracens picked apart Aviva Premiership title rivals Harlequins 22-12 in a dominant second half at the Twickenham Stoop.
The England wing rounded off an eye-catching move for his second try of the campaign and Owen Farrell kicked five penalties and a conversion to help the north London club to a fourth successive victory.
It is the first time the Premiership's only unbeaten team has failed to claim a try-scoring bonus point, but the manner in which they crushed a major rival in a one-sided second half sounded an ominous warning to the rest of the league.
Harlequins' aggressive defence was outstanding as they initially matched the pacesetters blow for blow and they deserved to lead 12-6 at the interval after Nick Evans had landed four penalties.
But having run themselves into the ground, their resistance faded and they repeatedly flung the ball in hope as Saracens expertly ground them into submission.
Namibian openside Jacques Burger, the dominant force at the breakdown, finished man of the match following another fearless display.
Only an unkind bounce prevented Saracens scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth from scoring early on as he blocked Evans' clearance, but the ball trickled beyond his reach and out of the in goal area.
A frantic opening continued as Ugo Monye flattened Chris Wyles and George Lowe executed a try-saving tackle on David Strettle who lose the footrace to the whitewash.
Monye easily rounded Ashton as Quins attacked down the left, exposing the England wing's defence, chipped ahead and was then blocked by a shoulder from Alex Goode.
Sending Goode to the sin bin was an easy decision for referee Martin Fox and Evans slotted his second penalty, Quins led 6-0.
Farrell kicked a penalty for Saracens but Quins replied with a driving maul through the heart of the opposition pack and having spent much of the opening quarter in their own half, they were now in the ascendancy.
The lead was restored to six points by the boot of Evans, but that was threatened when Kelly Brown broke clear from a line-out and, seeing space before him, he dashed towards the line.
The Scotland blindside looked destined to score, but Tom Williams turned him over. Maurie Fa'asavalu yanked down Jacques Burger as a scuffle broke out and was sent to the sin bin as a result.
Farrell and Evans swapped penalties and the half ended with Strettle knocking on over the line.
Saracens had begun to build pressure as the interval approached and this continued when play resumed as they won penalties at successive scrums.
Billy Vunipola was becoming increasingly prominent and the first try arrived shortly after he had made the hard yards with Strettle, Farrell and Wyles instrumental in sending Ashton over.
Farrell converted and kicked a penalty and to rub salt into Quins' growing wounds prop Joe Marler was sin-binned for pulling down a maul.
A turnover was secured by Robshaw, who ripped the ball from Vunipola, but Saracens were irrepressible as they powered back upfield after capitalising on the growing number of errors made by the 2012 champions.
Two more penalties arrived from Farrell and when Evans missed a late penalty, the losing bonus points had slipped from Quins' hands.
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|Friday 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale Sharks|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Irish|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Northampton|
|Sunday 8th March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Saracens|
|15:00||Newcastle Falcons vs Leicester Tigers|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Saturday 28th March|
|15:00||London Irish vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Leicester vs Exeter|
|15:15||Saracens vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 29th March|
|14:00||Sale vs Gloucester|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Bath|
|Friday 10th April|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Bath|
|Saturday 11th April|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Gloucester|
|15:15||Saracens vs Leicester|
|Sunday 12th April|
|14:00||Exeter vs Northampton|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Sale|
|Saturday 25th April|
|14:00||Sale vs Harlequins|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Bath vs London Irish|
|15:00||Northampton vs Saracens|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Welsh|
|Sunday 26th April|
|14:00||Wasps vs Exeter|
|Saturday 9th May|
|14:00||Sale vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Wasps 32 - 21 Gloucester|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Exeter 16 - 6 Bath|
|Saracens 22 - 17 Newcastle Falcons|
|Leicester Tigers 28 - 8 Sale Sharks|
|London Welsh 12 - 50 London Irish|
|Friday 27th February|
|Northampton 17 - 13 Harlequins|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|London Irish 6 - 12 Leicester Tigers|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Bath 13 - 21 Northampton|
|Harlequins 21 - 32 Exeter|
|Gloucester 48 - 10 London Welsh|
|Sale Sharks 14 - 10 Saracens|
|Friday 20th February|
|Newcastle 23 - 23 Wasps|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wasps 37 - 6 Harlequins|
|London Welsh 12 - 52 Sale|
|Saracens 34 - 24 Bath|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Exeter 46 - 17 Newcastle|
|Friday 13th February|
|Leicester 18 - 15 Gloucester|
|Northampton 15 - 9 London Irish|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com