Last year Harlequins went an astonishing 14 matches undefeated at the start of the season. If Quins continue to play as they did last week, when they dismantled Leicester at Welford Road, then Saracens are unlikely to get in their way in this match (2pm BST, Sunday, Sept 30).
After a decent start to the season against less equipped teams such as London Welsh, Sale and Wasps, Quins had racked up a maximum 15 points with a try bonus point in each without playing their best rugby.
Conor O’Shea was expecting to test Leicester’s normally impenetrable home record. Even though Leciester were without a number of regular first team members (such as Manu Tuliagi, Geordan Murphy, Anthony Allen and Ben Youngs), Leicester looked a shadow of the team that has historically bullied every opponent at fortress Welford Road.
Some were even labelling last week’s victory as a change of power in the English game. It is a little early to say that, but ending Leicester’s 11-month unbeaten home record takes a mighty fine side.
Despite all the positives in victory for Quins, they did pick up a host of injuries to Jordan Turner-Hall, Ross Chisholm and try scorer Tom Williams. Quins will have to replace these three with youngsters, but this is a squad brimming with confidence.
Last season this fixture was part of two “big” games, as Quins took their match to Twickenham and Saracens took their’s to Wembley. However after both sides lost their ‘home’ games in front of packed stadiums perhaps there is a feeling this year that they would rather play in their real home environment.
So Quins are playing this game at the more familiar Twickenham Stoop. Quins haven’t actually beaten Saracens here since early 2009. With Sarries coming into the match having not won either of their last two matches, this is the perfect time for Quins to strike.
Saracens opened their season with a thrashing of London Irish at Twickenham. After beating Sale their attacking attitude had dried up slightly. Saracens drew 9-9 with Leicester at Wembley in a very disappointing match before losing to Exeter 14-12 in dreadful conditions last week in Devon.
Despite recruiting the England winger Chris Ashton from Northampton over the summer, there are still question marks about their attacking options, especially with a midfield of Charlie Hodgson, Brad Barritt and Owen Farrell. None of those have any pace, so they tend to rely heavily on Alex Goode and their two wingers.
What Saracens do possess is one of the best forward packs in the country and an excellent set-piece. Their real x-factor is their hooker Schalk Brits, who is often the creator of most of their attacking play. For a hooker it is bizarre to see him hanging around on the wing or at full-back, but with ball in hand he is mesmeric.
Harlequins v Saracens Betting Tips Verdict
Saracens best chance of winning the game is by using their excellent kicking and if the conditions are wet they are in with a great chance. Otherwise Saracens will have to find a better attacking game than we have seen so far this season.