Ben Earl exorcises ‘Bristanbul’ ghost with hat-trick as Saracens beat Quins


Saracens 34-17 Harlequins: Champions packed as Sarries books final Premiership date with Leicester Tigers

Earl scores second of three tries at StoneX

Ben Earl took sweet revenge on Harlequins to dethrone the English champions and send Saracens through to the Premiership final.

A year after being on the wrong side of Quins’ miraculous semi-final victory while on loan at Bristol, Earl bounced back with a brilliant hat-trick try.

In a fierce London derby, which saw four players sinned, Earl kept a cool head to book his club a date at Twickenham next Saturday against top seeds Leicester, who won 27-14 against Northampton.

The New Premiership Player of the Year said: “It means everything to me, especially after what I went through last year.

“These guys gave me sleepless nights for four months during the summer. It’s just nice to have one on them.

On the eve of the battle, Earl admitted he still had to overcome Quins’ astonishing Ashton Gate comeback of 28-0 – dubbed ‘Bristanbul’ by Liverpool fan Danny Care.

So he took particular satisfaction in being part of the team that came from behind to triumph in the north London sun.







Marcus Smith breaks to set up a try for Danny Care and give Quins a 12-3 lead
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Saracens had to work hard to reach an eighth final in 13 years, as Quins came out of the traps and scored twice in the first quarter.

The first came from a throw-in taken by captain Stephan Lewies which England No.8 Alex Dombrandt finished with a little help from his friends.

Danny Care then added a beauty, latching on to an inside pass from Marcus Smith after the fly-half unlocked the defense like only he could.







Earl seals Saracens win with third try in last minute
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If 12-3 was cause for slight concern, Sarries didn’t hint at it, responding himself with a peach.

Earl avoided three tackles in no time after Maro Itoje and the Vunipola boys pounded on the door.

Quins returned, Joe Marchant looking to win his third on a turnover, but on closer inspection referee Luke Pearce ruled a pass had been made.







Jamie George celebrates his win over bitter rivals Harlequins
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It was a key moment, especially as officials noticed Jack Walker’s direct contact with Owen Farrell which left the England skipper bleeding and Quins at 14 men.

Within minutes, what could have been a 19-8 Quins lead was swollen to 22-12 in favor of the home side, ruthlessly capitalizing on the extra man.

First, Itoje powered to the line and Farrell got the ball out of the tackle, roughly back, for Nick Tompkins to score.







Maro Itoje wins line-up ball as Sarries books eighth Premiership final in 13 years
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Then, after Dombrandt knocked down the second-half kickoff, Sarries fed the ball to Earl for the flanker to win his second.

It should have been simple from there, especially when Aled Davies added a fourth from Vincent Koch’s assist.

But as Quins fought tooth and nail to get back into the contest, Sarries went to shreds and had Elliot Daly, Billy Vunipola and Alex Lozowski put on in the space of 15 minutes for dangerous shots.

Cadan Murley withdrew a try before Earl, with his third, put the game to bed.

“We said all week that the Quins would never leave,” Earl admitted. “And believe me, I learned that the hard way.

“So we’re really happy to do that.”

Saracens – Try: Earl 3, Tompkins, Davies. The inconvenients: Farrell 3. Pen: Farrell.

QUINS – Try: Dombrandt, Care, Murley. Versus : Black-smith.

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