Saracens came back from a 17-11 half-time deficit to beat Harlequins 31-17 at Allianz Park on Saturday and book their place in the English Premiership final.
It was tougher than the final scoreline indicates, not helped by two yellow cards in the first half which forced them to play six minutes with 13 men. Marcelo Bosch was sent off for a dangerous tackle and Matt Stevens, making his final home appearance before joining the Sharks this summer, followed four minutes later for a deliberate knock-down. During that time, though, the defence limited Quins to just one score, by wing Ugo Monye, and Saracens added a score of their own when quick hands put flank Kelly Brown over. But they conceded another on the stroke of half-time when Mike Brown hacked through from broken play to trail 17-11.
The effort had taken its toll on Quins, as first Brad Barritt, then Chris Ashton broke through a struggling defence, and another try was ruled out because of an off-side. Brown, the England fullback, limped off midway through the half, which will be of concern ahead of the mid-year tour to New Zealand.
Saracens now meet Northampton, who scored two late tries to beat Leicester 21-20 victory on Friday, in the final at Twickenham on 31 May. This, however, rules several top players out of the first England Test the following week. In the meantime, Saracens need to turn their attention the European Cup final against Toulon in Cardiff next week.
Saracens – Try: Kelly Brown, Brad Barritt, Chris Ashton. Conversions: Owen Farrell (2). Penalties: Farrell (4).
Harlequins – Tries: Ugo Monye, Mike Brown. Conversions: Nick Evans (2). Penalty: Evans.
Saracens – 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 David Strettle, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola
Subs: 16 Jamie George, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 James Johnston, 19 Alistair Hargreaves, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Chris Wyles
Harlequins – 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Tim Molenaar, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Luke Wallace, 5 George Robson, 4 Charlie Matthews, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Joe Marler
Subs: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Will Collier, 19 Nick Kennedy, 20 Tom Guest, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Sam Smith
Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images