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Hodgson stars in Saracens romp

Saracens responded to Mike Brown's pre-match taunts by demolishing Harlequins in a highly-impressive Aviva Premiership vi ctory at Twickenham Stoop.

Brown described the clash as Quins' biggest grudge match, adding "they're a club with all the cash and they have a fake pitch just to annoy everyone. They also have that silly song they sing."

The England full-back must have regretted his words as the inexplicably-passive 2012 Premiership champions were put to the sword in a viciously one-sided 39-0 defeat for a side intent on winning the title.

Charlie Hodgson masterminded the rout with a 22-point haul consisting of a try, five penalties and one conversion, while Chris Ashton and man of the match Will Fraser also crossed.

It was Saracens' pack that did the damage, bullying Quins throughout to leave them feeding on scraps. And when the home side did attack, they were met with an unbreakable wall of white shirts.

Quins were hardly helped by a succession of injuries that left them with replacement back row Jack Clifford playing in midfield, but the reasons for their worst defeat in recent memory ran far deeper.

The rout began when Ashton was catapulted backwards by prop Kyle Sinckler, prompting referee Wayne Barnes to award a penalty that Hodgson sent between the uprights.

The opening try appeared a certainty when Alex Goode's clever pass out of the tackle to David Strettle cleared a path to the whitewash for centre Duncan Taylor, but Brown's last-ditch tackle knocked the ball out of his hands.

Saracens settled for a Hodgson penalty instead and then thanked their fly-half for their first touch down when he charged down Nick Evans' kick and strolled over.

A conversion and penalty followed as Harlequins slipped 16-0 behind with only half an hour on the clock.

When the 2012 Premiership champions did stage a rare visit to the opposition 22 they were turned over with ease by Saracens, whose line had yet to be threatened.

Evans, who had been clutching his arms, failed to emerge for the second half and was replaced by Ben Botica whose first meaningful act was to direct a penalty at the right post.

A deliberate knock-on from Hodgson earnt him a spell in the sin-bin and in his absence Goode landed three points to end Quins' otherwise promising start to the second half.

As soon as Hodgson reappeared Saracens were again reduced to 14 men after captain Alistair Hargreaves was shown a yellow card for coming in at the side moments before England colleagues Danny Care and Billy Vunipola sparked a large brawl.

Wing Marland Yarde showed strength to force a path to the line but when the ball was recycled Botica needlessly kicked it away.

Saracens' came under sustained pressure for the first time, but their whitewash remained intact and on their next two visits to enemy territory Hodgson collected penalties.

The evening continued to unravel for Quins as Taylor hacked on a loose ball and Ashton, competing against forwards, won the sprint for the line with Owen Farrell converting.

A line-out catch and drive produced a try for Fraser and Farrell obliged with the final blow.

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