Saracens extend top-flight lead

SARACENS and England prop Mako Vunipola admitted it was important to lay down a marker yesterday after they swept aside defending Aviva Premiership champions Harlequins at Allianz Park 27-12.

Schalk Brits and Will Fraser grabbed a try apiece for Sarries, while Owen Farrell was outstanding from the kicking tee, finishing with 17 points.

Nick Evans could only manage four penalties in response for Quins as Saracens’ defence and scrum stifled the visitors’ attack.

“It’s great to put in a big performance against a quality Quins side who are reigning champions,” said Vunipola.

“To get a few tries is nice and to get a good score against Quins is ideal. It’s a great team performance. The defence were physical and intense.”

The win extended Saracens’ lead at the top of the Premiership to five points from Leicester, with Quins three points further back in third.

London Wasps’ top four hopes were dented, however, as they slipped to a last-gasp 26-24 defeat to Northampton Saints at Adams Park on Saturday.

Christian Day’s late try, converted by Stephen Myler, proved the difference as Wasps lost at home for the first time this season despite a stunning solo try from Elliot Daly which looked to have put them on course for the win.

It was a better weekend for London Irish, who beat Worcester 26-6 to edge a little further from the relegation battle.

Matt Garvey, Halani Aulika and Chris Hala’ufia scored the tries for the Exiles, with Tom Homer also chipping in with 11 points.

London Welsh suffered late heartbreak at Gloucester, going down 15-14 having led heading into the final ten minutes.

Freddie Burns’ fifth penalty put the Cherry and Whites in front with six minutes to go as Phil MacKenzie’s try and Gordon Ross’s penalties proved in vain.

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