Saracens thrash sorry Harlequins with eight-try blitz in ominous Premiership play-off warning

At the double: Sean Maitland scored an eye-catching brace as Saracens brushed London rivals Harlequins aside (Getty Images)
At the double: Sean Maitland scored an eye-catching brace as Saracens brushed London rivals Harlequins aside (Getty Images)

Saracens beat Harlequins up in the mind, then tore them apart on the pitch.

The Men In Black romped to an eighth straight Gallagher Premiership win over their London rivals – a 52-7 victory that started long before either team took the field.

A rampant Saracens had the four-try bonus point wrapped up in just 27 minutes, and lit up a packed Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with eight scores.

Theo Dan and Sean Maitland both crossed twice, with Alex Lewington, Lucio Cinti, Juan Martin Gonzalez and Alex Goode all scoring too.

Alex Dombrandt scored for Quins, but that might not even count as consolation on a desperate day for the men in quarters, who also lost Nick David to a shoulder injury.

Maitland’s second try had England captain and Saracens replacement Jamie George covering his mouth with his hand in disbelief.

Dan blasted a break, Ben Earl popped a pass out of the back door, Elliot Daly flicked the ball through his legs – and Maitland still found time to bump one defender and stiff-arm another for a stunning score.

Compare and contrast George’s subs bench glee with Quins’ sideline slump midway through the second half, where Joe Marler and Jack Walker cut disconsolate figures.

Quins almost appeared overawed before kick-off, and were overwhelmed shortly after it. After seven weeks off, Saracens looked as though they had never been away, while Quins’ pre-break momentum evaporated on the north London breeze.

When Sarries lost 19-10 at Leicester in early January, defiant boss Mark McCall insisted the teams that seized initiative after the Six Nations fixture break would control the silverware chase.

Quins started this Saturday second in the table, and Saracens fourth. By full-time, Sarries jumped to second and Quins slipped to fifth.

Just one game back as the Premiership turns from marathon to sprint for the run-in, and Sarries are back in control.

The table will change every week from now until the play-offs, but Saracens have flexed their considerable muscle in ominous fashion once again.

Owen Farrell toasted his 250th appearance with a commanding performance comprising 12 points off the boot but so much more beyond.

The former England captain desperately wants a seventh league title before departing north London for Racing 92 this summer.

On this evidence, it will take quite some performance for anyone to deny him that farewell crown.

Quins must dust themselves down and throw everything at next weekend’s home clash with Bath – a match that Billy Millard’s men will need to win to keep in top-four play-off touch.

Some 61,214 punters packed Tottenham’s spaceship stadium, and anyone of a Sarries persuasion was delighted from first to last.

Dan, Earl and Daly were right to the fore to send Lewington home, and Sarries were straight into full-control mode.

Quins leaked four penalties in their own 22 and captain Stephan Lewies walked to the bin, then Dan powered over for score number two.

Maitland then ran home twice in quick succession, the second the worldie that had everyone on their feet – including the stunned George.

After the break, Dan capped another driven lineout for try number five. Dombrandt sneaked in for Quins next, but the west Londoners failed to keep the contest alive.

Cinti ghosted in, followed by compatriot Gonzalez, before Danny Care was sin-binned. Goode nipped in for a neat final score, before Saracens rode out a late yellow card for Lewington.