Sunday, January 6, 2013

Aviva Premiership - Round 13 Wrap

Worcester Warriors 14-19 Leicester Tigers
The Worcester Warriors led the match for 79 minutes and at times dominated but, in the end, did not have the props to win as Leicester pulled off a last minute victory by scoring its second penalty try. Worcester also was unable to land a number of goals which could have wrapped up the result earlier. The Argentine-Italian tighthead prop Martín Castrogiovanni started in the frontrow in what was a second-string Leicester frontrow. He had a poor first half which included him being yellow carded for a dangerous tackle. Dan Cole replaced him in the 52nd minute while Argentina´s Marcos Ayerza entered for Leicester at the same time to play loosehead.

Exeter Chiefs 19-30 Northampton Saints
Exeter´s recent form is worrying as the club has gone from being in the Top Four to dropping down to sit well outside of the play-off´s zone. Its home loss agaisnt Northampton on Saturday means it heads into its Heineken Cup match against Clermont next weekend as major outsiders. The Saints, in contrast, are looking very well and the clubs win sees it move back into the Top 4. The win featured the USA´s Samu Manoa who was on the bench. Exeter also had a player from the Americas on the bench as Argentina´s Ignacio Mieres came on to land a conversion in the 64th minute. Gonzalo Camacho also featured, playing the full 80 minutes on the wing.

Gloucester 12-18 London Irish
A major boost for London Irish took place on Saturday as the relegation threatened side completed a win against one of the strongest teams in the competition. The win over Gloucester not only shows that London Irish can avoid relegation but it also shows that the team could even rise significantly higher than its present position of eleventh in the competition. Canada´s Jebb Sinclair played in the backrow for London Irish. Sinclair´s side did well as it scored two tries to zero. 

London Wasps 29-15 Bath
The London Wasps have gone from near the bottom of the table to now sit in thr Top four. The remarkable turnaround has as much to do with how much the team has improved throughout this season as the the lowly performances of a number of clubs in the Aviva Premiership. Despite havign a Salary Cap the 2012-2013 season is not as competitive as the Top 14 in France as Northampton, currently in sixth place, are noticably better than all teams in the bottom half of the competition. Below sixth place in France sit the likes of Biarritz, Perpignan and Stade Français all of whom have won the title over the past decade. At the heart of Basth´s loss was New Zealand´s Stephen Donald as the All Blacks winning World Cup Champion continues to not perform well in England. Argentina´s Horacio Agulla played for Bath on the right wing.

London Welsh 26-31 Harlequins
A very good performance from the home team in this weekends only all-London match sees the relegation threatened club get a bonus point in losing the the reigning Aviva Premiership Champions and the 2012-2013 competition leaders. The Quins bonuis point win was sealed with a lot of time left and the home side fought back well to complete a bonus point loss. Canada´s Phil MacKenzie missed the match as he continues to recover from injury.

Saracens 32-12 Sale Sharks 
England 2015 continues to look very concerning as the host nation´s premier rugby competition, the Aviva Premiership, looks increasinlgy like having no teams at all from Northern England. The only team left from the North is the Sale Sharks after teams from Leeds and Newcastle have been relegated in recent seasons. Sale covers the Manchester area and the club is struggling to win matches. London aside, such cities are amongst the largest in England, which makes Rugby World Cup 2015 worrying for the IRB and tournament organizers. Saracens´s win over the Sale Sharks featured the USA´s Chris Wyles at fullback. The USA Eagle will feature for his country in 2013 matches in June and the subsequent World Cup Qualifying series against Canada. He played at Rugby World Cup 2007 in France and 2011 in New Zealand.

Aviva Premiership Standings
1 Harlequins 46
2 Saracens 44
3 Leicester 43
4 London Wasps 37
5 Gloucester 35
6 Northampton 36
7 Exeter Chiefs 31
8 Bath 27
9 Worcester 26
10 London Welsh 21
11 London Irish 16
12 Sale Sharks 11

* Play-Off´s Places
* Facing Relegation

Worcester Warriors v Leicester Tigers

Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints

Gloucester v London Irish

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