Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Aviva Premiership Round 13 Wrap

Chris Wyles
The script was well and truely torn up for the thirteenth round of the 2011-2012 Aviva Premiership which was played in England from Friday-Sunday. The competitions dominant foce, the Harlequins had their poorest match of the season as they lost by over 20 points while two teams expected to be amongst the poorest in the competition completed impressive wins with the Exeter Chiefs now firmly in line for a debut place in next seasons Heineken Cup and the Worcester Warriors becoming increasingly unlikely to be relegated to the RFU Championship. The weekend also confirmed both the Northampton Saints and the Leicester Tigers in the top four after the two powerhouses had been near the bottom of the standings earlier in the season due to missing a host of players to World Cup duty. The round featured players from the Americas on show in every match with World Cup stars from both Argentina and the United States of America playing and contributing to their respective clubs scorecards.

Northampton Saints 24-3 Harlequins
On friday evening in Northampton the Harlequins were brought back down to earth as they were well beaten by last seasons Heineken Cup finalists. USA Eagles secondrower, Samu Manoa started in the secondrow for Northampton. The Harlequins two Argentine players were both on the bench and both entered in the secondhalf. Secondrower Tomás Vallejos Cinalli came on in the 59th minute and inside centre Benjamín Urdapilleta in the 61st.

Leicester Tigers 29-11 London Wasps
Leicester scored another win to cement their place in the top four while confirming London Wasps as the seasons second poorest side as the Wasps are potentially the only side that could finish below Newcastle. Los Pumas´ World Cup left winger, Horacio Agulla started for the winners, playing the first 65 minutes before being replaced.
Newcastle Falcons 10-16 Exeter Chiefs
The extent of how far Newcastle has dropped was all that much clearer following the sides home loss to Exeter on Saturday. The Falcons are certainly proving to consistently be the weakest team in the competition and the sides roster features nobody of the callibre of former players such as Jonny Wilkinson, Toby Flood and Mathew Tait. The Chiefs, were not expected to last a season in the Aviva Premiership but last season was a success and this one is going even better with the club now in seriouis contention for a historical place in the 2012-2013 Heineken Cup. The hot form of Argentine flyhalf, Ignacio Mieres continued with the former Deportiva Francesa player landing a dropgoal, two penalties and a conversion. He was joined for the full 80 minutes by Los Pumas´ World Cup right winger, Gonzalo Camacho.

Worcester Warriors 21-15 Gloucester
Not too many years ago Gloucester were the best team in England but the clubs inability to defeat Worcester on Saturday sees the club sink to 8th in the standings which places significant cloud on whether or not the team will be in next seasons Heineken Cup or not. Former Pumas hooker, Matías Cortese came off the bench for Gloucester in the second half.

London Irish 21-19 Sale Sharks
The Exiles move ahead of the Sharks thanks to their narrow two point win in Reading on Sunday. Uncapped Argentine winger, Joaquín Tuculet played the full 80 minutes for the visitors. The former Los Pampas XV fullback may well be in line for a test debut in June as Argentina face Italy and France in what is to be preperation for The Rugby Championship. The demanding load on the leading players is likely to see a number of new faces tried to ensure nobody is over played.

Saracens 26-19 Bath
Saracens only terails competition leaders, the Harlequins, by three points now after downing Bath in London on Sunday. The young Owen Farrell continues to underline his credentials in making his debut for England in the upcoming Six Nations as he kicked 16 points for the hosts. One of Saracens´ two tries was scored by USA  Eagles fullback, Chris Wyles who started for Saracens on the left wing. Argentina born former Italian international, Carlos Nieto featured for Saracens from the bench.

Aviva Premiership Standings
1 Harlequins 47
2 Saracens 44
3 Northampton Saints 36
4 Leicester Tigers 36
5 London Irish Exiles 33 
6 Exeter Chiefs 31
7 Sale Sharks 30
8 Gloucester 29
9 Worcester Warriors 25
10 Bath 24
11 London Wasps 21
12 Newcastle Falcons 12

                                               Northampton Saints vs Harlequins

                                                 Worcester Warriors vs Gloucester

                                                   London Irish vs Sale Sharks

                                                Newcastle Falcons vs Exeter Chiefs

                                                           Saracens vs Bath

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