Monday, February 21, 2011

Aviva Premiership - Round 15

Round 15 of Englands Premier Rugby compeition, the Aviva Premiership saw the Leicester Tigers stretch their lead as they look invincible and saw former leaders the Northampton Saints continued to fall as they struggle without their players on international duty for England. It also saw Newcastle, the side that produced both Englsih international flyhalves Johnny Wilkinson and Toby Flood, edge closer to relegation. The round again featured lots of action from players from the Americas with players certain to feature for Argentina and the United States in Rugby World Cup 2011 on show.

The newcomers to the premiership, the Exeter Chiefs continued their impressive rise as they knocked over the Newcastle Falcons in an away match on Friday with a ten point win which saw the hosts fail to pick up a bonus point. The 23-13 victory sees Exeter sit in ninth spot well ahead of last place and thus virtually guaranteed of not being relegated to the second division next season. Uncapped Argentina prop Ignacio Elosu came off the bench for Exeter in the second half but flyhalf Ignacio Mieres did not play. Friday´s other match saw Gloucester defeat London Irish 23-9. The victory sees the home side move into third place in the premership while the Exiles have drifted down to seventh. Argentine scrumhalf Alfredo Lalanne did not play for the London Irish Exiles and is rumoured to be eyeing a switch to France.

The Leicester Tigers 21-12 home victory vs London Wasps on Saturday saw the London based side drop to eighth place where they are less than one victory ahead of Exeter. The seemingly effortless win featured three Argentina players with Pumas international winger Horacio Agulla playing the full 80 minuets for the Tigers and Argentina born Italian international tighthead prop, Martín Castrogiovanni playing in the 3 shirt. Pumas loosehead prop, Marcos Ayerza came off the bench in the 51st minute for the Tigers but Montpellier bound Pumas winger Lucas González Amorisino was left out of the match day 23.

London based side the Harlequins impressed at home in defeating the Sale Sharks 21-9 to move up the ladder into fifth place but on equal points with fourth placed Northampton. Sale, in contrast, sit in tenth position as they continue to struggle and can only hope that Newcastle and Leeds Carnegie continue to lose their matches. The 2006 championship side have struggled in recent seasons sicne losing key players such as Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe to Toulon and Luke McAlister to the Blues. The former glory club has been anything but impressive this season. In the seides loss to the Quins Argentina international winger Gonzalo Camacho started at wing for the Quins  and was joined in the second half by uncapped Argentina second rower Tomás Vallejos Cinallo. Argentine flyhalf Benjamín Urdapilleta was also on the bench for the London based side.

Bath hosted and destroyed the Northampton Saints as they notched up a 38-8 victory which featured a hat-trick by English international winger Matt Banahan. 36 year old former Argentina international secondrower, Ignacio Fernández Lobbe came off the bench to play in the secondrow for Bath. the veteran who retired from international duty in June 2008 is playing his last season of professional rugby which has span more than a decade since he arrived in Bordeaux, France in 2000. His sides victory sees them move to within less than one victory of the top four.

The final match of the round was played on Sunday with London based side Saracens hosting bottom placed side Leeds Carnegie at Watford. Saracens were expected to win but nobody predicted a 39 point win, let alone a 39-0 win. The visitors played terrible rugby to the extent that it was 27-0 at half time and thus game over. USA Eagles international Chris Wyles scored one of Saracens´ five tries through a brilliant solo effort and was joined by his international team mate Hayden Smith who like Wyles was in the starting lineup. Smith played in the second row and was named man of the match. Argentina born Italian international prop Carlos Nieto played prop for Saracens while USA international Mike MacDonald was prop for Leeds and former Argentine international prop Juan Gomez came off the bench for Leeds Carnegie. The loss is great news for Newcastle as it sees Leesd remain in bottom palce. Saracens, in contrast, site pretty in second place.


1 Leicester 52
2 Saracens 42 
3 Gloucester 40
4 Northampton 38
5 Harlequins 38
6 Bath 36
7 London Irish 35
8 London Wasps 34
9 Exeter Chiefs 31
10 Sale Sharks 20
11 Newcastle 12
12 Leeds 9

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