Monday, April 1, 2013

Aviva Premiership - Round 19 Wrap

Gloucester 17-15 Harlequins
An interesting result kicked off round 19 of the Aviva Premiership as Gloucester completed an unlikely two point win over the Harlequins. The result means the Quins are now within two points of dropping out of the top four. Gloucester, on the other hand, are edging closer to a Semi Finals appearanceand can rest up ahead of the final rounds while the Harlequins will be playing in the Heineken Cup Quarter Finals. The Quins chances of success look reduced now as the current form is concerning;. 

Northampton Saints 8-36 Leicester Tigers
A massive win for the Leicester Tigers over rivals Northampton means the Saints are now tied with Gloucester and are only head due to a superior for and against record. Leicester, in contrast, is sitting pretty in second place and is odds on favorite now to host one of the two Semi Finals, likely against the Harlequins.  The four tries to one victory featured Pumas loosehead prop Marcos Ayerza in the starting lineup while USA international Samu Manoa started in the backrow for Northampton.

Worcester Warriors 18-23 Exeter Chiefs
A good away win for the Chiefs keeps the teams hopes of appearing in next seasons Heineken Cup alive. Worcester is now just playing to finish the season as it looks to be more competitive next season with the arrival of a number of players including Exeter´s Pumas flyhalof, Ignacio Mieres. 

London Wasps 13-22 Saracens
The fall from grace for London Wasps continues. After having succeeded in getting itself into the top four earlier this season the club is now well off the pace and is highly unlikely to make it back in time for the Semi Finals. It is also no longer qualifying for a place in the 2013-2014 Heineken Cup and is only one pint ahead of Exeter. The wins keeps Saracens four points ahead of the Leicester Tigers on top of the table and the teams are currently looking likely to be those who dispute the 2013 Aviva Premiership Final. Saracens had a USA player in the form of Chris Wyles who played on the left wing and went over for a try. He was joined by Argentine prop Carlos Nieto with the former Italian international being on the bench.

Bath 40-25 London Welsh
London Welsh´s recent points deduction may not matter in the end as the club would now be bottom of the table with or without the penalty. The club is nonetheless adament that the wrong decision was made and is looking at taking further action to have the decision reversed. But in order for it to be worthwhile London Welsh will need to finish at least within four points of the 11th placed team. Currently the club is eight points behind the 11th placed Sale. In other words, should Sale win no more further points but London Welsh succeed in winning at least one match and reversing the points deduction then Sale would be relegated. It appears unlikely though as London Welsh was hammered by Bath on Saturday with Bath scoring five tries to one and one of them being scored by Pumas winger Horacio Agulla. He played in the 14 shirt while London Welsh´s number 14 was Canadian Phil MacKenzie who was joined by Pumas outside centre Gonzalo Tiesi in the starting backline and last years captain of Los Pampas XV Julio Farías Cabello started in the backrow. 

London Irish 33-33 Sale Sharks
A draw for two teams in danger of being relegated was in effect a win for both as it means London Welsh is now evern further behind both clubs. That said it was a match that London Irish should have won and the coach, Brian Smith, was vocal in voicing his anger and frustration. I was the first match of the season that the Sale Sharks had led at the interval but after having slipped behind in the second half Sale looked certain to lose before a late penalty sealed a draw. Canadian international Jebb Sinclair was on the bench for London Irish.

Aviva Premiership Standings
1 Saracens 67
2 Leicester 63
3 Harlequins 56
4 Northampton 54
5 Gloucester 54
6 Bath 48
7 London Wasps 47
8 Exeter 46
9 Worcester 33
10 London Irish 30
11 Sale Sharks 26
12 London Welsh 18

* Play-Off´s Places
* Facing Relegation

Gloucester v Harlequins

London Irish v Sale Sharks

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