Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Aviva Premiership Round Eleven Wrap - Eagles and Pumas.

Horacio Agulla celebrates
The eleventh round of the Aviva Premiership was split with one match being played on Saturday, two on Monday and the remaining three matches all being played on Tuesday. The long Christmas weekend was kinder to some teams than it was to others with some mid-tables sides securing big wins at the expense of others. The Northampton Saints, Leicester Tigers, Sale Sharks and Gloucester all had important wins to climb the ladder. The round did not see so many players from the Americas in action but it, nevertheless, featured international players from both Argentina and the USA with Horacio Agulla and Ignacio Mieres impressing for their respective clubs.

Northampton Saints 22-13 Bath
Northampton´s Aviva Premiership season continue to improve as the hangover of the players who missed out on early season matches due to Rugby World Cup 2011 is wearing off. The Saints have been able to rise significantly up the standings and are now genuine Semi Finals contenders according to their position on the table. Friday´s match featured two USA Eagles players with each team having an Eagles forward on the bench. Samu Manoa came on in the 59th minute for the Saints while replacement hooker Chris Biller was unused by Bath. Manoa picked up a yellow card in only his second minute on the field.

Sale Sharks 27-19 Newcastle Falcons
The Falcons suffered another defeat to remain at the foot of the table and in serious danger of being relegated to the second division. Sale, in contrast, continue to impress and look like Semi Final material. Uncapped Argentine fullback, Joaquín Tuculet did not play for Sale.

Gloucester 39-10 London Wasps
A massive win at Kingsholm  almost saw Gloucester enter the top four while the London Wasps continue to stay outside of the Semi Final´s and Heinken Cup qualifying frame. Former Pumas hooker, Matias Cortese did not feature for Gloucester.

London Irish 29-22 Exeter Chiefs
Exeter´s loss sees the club slip from the top four down to eighth position in the standings but well clear of the relegation zone. London irish, in contrast, have risen to third. Pumas World Cup wigner, Gonzalo Camacho played the full 80 minutes for the Chiefs as did Ignacio Mieres who continues to press for a place in Argentina´s test team. Mieres kicked 17 points for Exeter. Canada´s Jebb Sinclair again mised out due to a thumb injury which requires surgery. He is expected to return for London Irish in march.
Worcester Warriors 13-32 Leicester Tigers
The Worrcester Warriors suffered their worst loss of the season as the Tigers continue to rise up the Aviva Premiership standings. The club at long last are in the top four. Pumas winger, Horacio Agulla played on the right wing and scored Leicester´s fourth try with one minute left to secure his team a valuable bonus point. Argentine loosehead prop, Marcos Ayerza missed the game as he continues to recover from injury. Argentine born Italian trighthead prop, Martín Castrogiovanni was on the bench for Leicester.

Harlequins 11-19 Saracens
The home of our great sport, Twickenham was the setting for al all-London encounter with the Harlequins hosting Saracens on Tuesday evening. The occassion was a success with a record crowd of 82,000 attending the match. The match itself, for the Quins, was a failure as they lost an Aviva Premiership match for the first time this season. Tomas Vallejos Cinalli played the full match in the secondrow for the Harlequins while Benjamin Urdapilleta did not feature. USA fullback, Chris Wyles played the full secondhalf after entering from the bench for Saracens while the Argentina born former Italian international, Carlos Nieto started at tighthead prop.

Aviva Premiership Standings
1 Harlequins 43
2 Saracens 38
3 London Irish 29
4 Leicester Tigers 28
5 Sale Sharks 28
6 Northampton Saints 27
7 Gloucester 26
8 Exeter Chiefs 26
9 London Wasps 20
10 Bath 19
11 Worcester Warriors 17 
12 Newcastle Falcons 11

                                                     Northampton Saints vs Bath
                                                   Sale Sharks vs Newcastle Falcons

                                                    Gloucester vs London Wasps

                                     London Irish vs Exeter Chiefs
                                        Worcester Warriors vs Leicester Tigers

                                                  Harlequins vs Saracens


  1. I don't like Manoa because of how he pulled out of the USA World Cup squad and he also seems like quite an ill disciplined player, I saw him mouthing off several times against Castres

    and i don't like Northampton generally either

  2. According to an insider Samu Manoa only found out that he would miss the World Cup a month before the tournament itself.

    Manoa is a good player but would not make the best USA 22 as he is behind John van der Giessen, Hayden Smith and Scott LaValla. It was interesting to see him play in the Heineken Cup as he could well have a future there - at least on the bench behind Nic Johnson.