Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Aviva Premiership Round 18

Round 18 of the eilte compeition of English rugby, the Aviva Premiership took place from Friday through Sunday. The most importat match of the round took place on Friday with the struggling Sale Sharks hosting bottom of the table Leeds Carnegie in a match which could be crucial to the future of both sides to avoid being relegated to the second division.  Leeds needed the win more than the Sharks and succeeded in scoring two tries to zero but it was the boot of departing flyhalf Charlie Hodgson which was the difference as Sale won the match 15-12. United States international Mike MacDonald started at tighthead prop and Argentina prop Juan Gómez featured off the bench for Leeds.

Top of the table Leicester Tigers severely dented the play-off´s chances of Bath on Saturday as the dominant force in English rugby, Leicester were far too good for Bath in pulling off an impressive 37-6 victory in Bath. The result means Bath sit in seventh position - eight points behind the fourth place Northampton Saints. Argentina international fullback / wing Horacio Agulla and looseheah prop Marcos Ayerza played wing for Leicester and former Argentina international secondrower Ignacio Fernández Lobbe came off the bench as a secondhalf replacement for Bath.

The Harlequins sit in fifth place jointly with London Irish and are four points behind Northampton after completing a highly impressive 53-15 thrashing over third placed Gloucester in London on Saturday. Argentina international winger Gonzalo Camcho puton a strong performance for the Quins as he played the full 80 minutes. He was joined in the second half by two Argentina players who have an outside chance of being selected for New Zealand 2011 - flyhalf Benjamín Urdaplleta and secondrower Tomás Vallejos. The result sees Gloucester slip well behind Leicester and Saracens who are well out in front on the Aviva Premiership ladder.

The London Irish Exiles also scored an impressive win at home vs the Exeter Chiefs on Saturday which sees them stay just one win behind fourth placed Northampton and thus a place in the play-off´s. The loss for Exeter means they are well clear and will not featire in the Semi-Finals but the Chiefs are well ahead of bottom of the table Leeds Carnegie and will thus remain in the Aviva Premiership next season. The 39-17 victory featured tries from the Armitage brothers. Uncapped Argentina flyhalf Ignacio Mieres was on the bench for Exeter.

The Northampton Saints welcomed back its English international players from Six Nations duty and returned to winning ways in humiliating the London Wasps by 39-3 on Sunday. The result sees the London Wasps chances of making the play-off´s look impossible but is great news for the Saints who have been struggling to perform throughout February and March. In Sundays other match London based Saracens hosted Newcastle and notched up a 24-9 effortless victory. Argentina born Itlain international prop Carlos Nieto played for Saracens as the USA international secondrower Hayden Smith. USA international fullback, Chris Wyles played at outside centre for this match.

Aviva Premiership Ladder

1 Leicester 62
2 Saracens 59
3 Gloucester 49
4 Northampton 48
5 London Irish 44
6 Harlequins 44
7 Bath 40
8 London Wasps 39
9 Exeter Chiefs 36
10 Sale Sharks 26
11 Newcastle 20
12 Leeds 14

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