Premiership: Saracens ‘need a full 80-minute performance’ to beat Harlequins warns Ben Earl

Date published: June 11 2022 - Dylan Coetzee

Premiership player of the season, Ben Earl, will play to the final whistle against Harlequins in the semi-finals after the heartbreak he experienced with Bristol last season.

Earl was on loan to Bristol Bears while Sarries fought for promotion following a points deduction and lost to Quins at the same knockout stage despite having a 28-point lead in the game.

Play to the final whistle

With the experience still living in his mind, the Saracen knows that an 80-minute performance is required if his side is to progress to the Premiership’s showpiece match.

“I certainly don’t think I’m over it, even now. It was a pretty scarring experience, that’s for sure,” he said.

“The lessons I learned from it are amazing – that against this type of opposition the game is never over.

“You can be 20 points up with 10 minutes to go, then they score three tries just like that and you’re up against it.

“Rugby is probably the most momentum-based game out there. If we lose that foothold in the game then we can expect a very tough afternoon.

“You need to stay alive to everything they do – quick tap penalties, quick throw-ins off the line-out.

“But there’s another aspect to it and that’s that we can control this game, we can control the tempo of the game, by doing the things that we do unbelievably well.

“We know that Quins will have their moments in the game, it’s about how we can stay in the fight. We need a full 80-minute performance.

“Trust me, I’ve witnessed it when you don’t put together a full 80-minute performance against Quins. You come away very, very disappointed.”

Earl hopes to return to the England squad and add to his 13 caps but knows that he has given it his all, regardless of selection, in an outstanding season.

“When you see guys get a few caps with England then fall off the face of the earth, I definitely didn’t want to be that type of person,” he said.

“I’m still incredibly driven to play international rugby. I feel really fortunate to be playing for Sarries and to be pushing at these big games and to keep putting my hand up.

“If the opportunity doesn’t come at least I know I’ve tried my best. If it does come, then happy days.”

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