Record 83,761 crowd turn out at Wembley

by staff

A world record attendance for club rugby saw Harlequins underline their Premiership title credentials with a gritty 24-19 win over Saracens at Wembley on Saturday.

A massive crowd of 83,761 helped turn English football's national stadium into a rugby fortress for the afternoon and Harlequins rose to the occasion to extend their lead over second-placed Saracens to six points.

The attendance surpassed the previous world record of 82,208 from the Leinster v Munster European Cup semi-final at Croke Park in May 2009.

A total of 165,781 fans have watched the two Premiership matches between Harlequins and Saracens this season, with 82,000 turning out for the fixture at Twickenham on December 27.

George Lowe was the star performer for 'Quins as the 22-year-old centre proved why he is regarded as one of England's brightest young prospects.

After Jordan Turner-Hall's try had put Harlequins ahead, Lowe produced a top class finish to score his side's second of the afternoon and Danny Care added their third after the break.

Saracens then threw everything at Harlequins but Lowe kept the Premiership champions out with brilliant try-saving tackles on Michael Tagicakibau and Chris Wyles in the space of three minutes.

Harlequins were under siege and had three men sin-binned - Joe Marler, Care and Nick Easter - as they weathered wave after wave of Saracens attacks.

Richard Wigglesworth finally stole over when Marler and Care were both off the field and Owen Farrell added the conversion to his four first-half penalties.

That was enough to secure Saracens the losing bonus point and move them back up to second place but Harlequins held out for the victory.

Elsewhere, Exeter Chiefs continued to push hard for a semi-final spot as they secured an 18-11 victory over London Irish.

The Devon side outscored the Exiles two tries to one with all the visitors points coming from fullback Tom Homer as the visitors slipped to their sixth league defeat in a row.

Gonzalo Camacho and James Hanks were the men to cross for the Chiefs.

In the day's late game, fourth placed Northampton won 26-6 at Bath.